Crash-Landing Kaguya


Japan’s Kaguya spacecraft is expected to crash into the moon this week. Yeah, this is serious business, according to Inside Japan:

The Japanese Kaguya lunar orbiter is to conclude its research mission in dramatic fashion by crash-landing on the moon later this week.

Observers will be watching the moon’s near side for the final impact made by the probe, which has been in orbit around Earth’s satellite since late 2007, at 18:30 GMT on June 10th.

The mission of the Kaguya probe, formerly codenamed Selene, was to aid study of the evolution of the moon by collecting data on its composition and gravitational field, as well as recording high-definition video of its surface.

Collision with the moon is the typical destiny of such orbiters, with the European Space Agency’s SMART-1 and the Chinese Chang’e 1 among the probes to impact upon the lunar surface in the last two years.

Shin-ichi Sobue, a spokesperson for the Kaguya mission, described the forthcoming collision as "a final show for the Japanese people".

This "landing" will undoubtedly add an exclamation point to the fine video footage gathered by JAXA and partner NHK. This eart-rise is a fine example: