The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has released the final still images taken by the onboard High Definition Television (HDTV) from Kaguya, just before it completed its mission by impacting the moon on June 11, 2009. An entire series of images were taken with an interval of about one minute by the HDTV (Teltephoto) while Kaguya maneuvered its way to impact in Gill Crater.
Here’s a link to a Flash animation showing the images in succession. Click the “up” arrow to proceed through the images.
The last image taken is basically just black as it approached the darkened bottom of the crater. This is the second to the last image taken:
Visible is the surface of the Moon getting closer as Kaguya approached impact.
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Kaguya launched on September 14, 2007 and spent nearly two years studying the moon before the planned impact. An Australian telescope observed the controlled crash of Japan’s Kaguya lunar probe into the moon Wednesday, an important warm-up act before a NASA’s LCROSS impactor attempts a similar feat in October. Here’s the series of images from Australia:
Browse through more images taken by the Kaguya HDTV Archives, the JAXA digital archives,, and the JAXA channel on YouTube.
Hat tip to Joel Raupe at Lunar Networks