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June 30, 2009 Vol. 2, Issue 6


On Wednesday June 10, 2009, JAXA’s three-ton lunar probe, Kaguya, or SELENE (SELenological and ENgineering Explorer), ended its mission as it intentionally slammed into the near-side of the moon.

Named after the lunar princess from a Japanese folktale, the probe collected data on the geography, topography, mineral distribution, gravity levels, and magnetic field of the Moon. The nearly two-year long mission also produced the world’s first HD video of the Moon’s surface.

Kaguya’s remains add to the lunar detritus left by China’s Chang’e 1, which crashed earlier this year, and ESA’s SMART-1, which crashed in 2006. The probe would have eventually fallen onto the Moon’s surface on its own, but JAXA wanted to be able to observe and learn from the controlled impact.

Learn more about Kaguya Probe.

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