Video: These aren't renderings, special effects or a scene from No Man's Sky. This is actual footage of the Earth and the Moon, as seen by Japan's Kaguya spacecraft in October 2008. Shot with a pair of 2.2 megapixel HDTV sensors, it's some of the first HD footage of our nearest neighbour that humans ever captured.
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After a year-long hiatus, we have a robotic explorer around our angry, overheated twin of a planet again! Late last night the Japanese Space Agency confirmed their audacious plan to use manoeuvring thrusters worked, and now the spacecraft is already sending home new photos.
Countries are scrambling to get to Mars in a good ol' fashioned space race. But focus might be shifting to the red planet's two moons. According to reports, Japan announced plans yesterday to bring its asteroid-probing technology to the tiny Martian satellites.
Over the weekend, the Japanese space agency Jaxa successfully launched the Epsilon rocket, which is carrying a telescope, Sprint-A, for planetary observation. Jaxa was able to complete the launch for about $US37 million, half the cost of previous Jaxa rockets and cheap compared to an average $US450 million NASA launch.
With the dinosaur Space Shuttle set to retire in 2010, and Orion due to be finished (optimistically) by 2015, NASA may purchase the US$131 million unmanned HTV cargo vehicle from JAXA, Japan's space agency, to guarantee fresh shipments of space-Doritos flowing up to the brave souls on the International Space Station. While they had initially planned to fill this gap by relying on commercial space cargo flights by companies like SpaceX, Reuters is reporting that delays in the private-sector space companies have caused NASA to look elsewhere to avoid being crippled by the Shuttle's retirement.
We knew that boomerangs work in space because Takao Doi tried one in the International Space Station last month. Now, thanks to JAXA's obsession with cameras we have proof on video. The usual skeptics who think that Elvis is really the only human that ever went to the moon—and still lives there—will be happy.
Selene, Japan's lunar spacecraft and HD peeping Tom, keeps sending stunningly-detailed information from our crystal clear Moon to trashed Mother Earth. These first-ever high definition global topographic maps of the Moon were created using 1,127,392 point measurements, taken with its laser altimeter. And they are just preliminary versions.