Last week, Japan’s KAGUYA lunar explorer—the mission formerly known as SELENE—shot the first-ever high-definition clips of the Moon. KAGUYA is designed to help scientists learn more about the origin and evolution of the Moon, and to develop technology for further exploration in the future. It’s actually a series of three spacecraft: two small satellites in polar orbit, and a larger one hovering 62 miles above the surface.
Filming from about 62 miles away from the surface, the camera system inside the biggest spacecraft recorded two clips, one near the Moon’s north pole, the other of a western region known as Oceanus Procellarum. It’s actually pretty amazing, and so much sharper than traditional images of the lunar surface that it makes you think it’s an animation, and not video.—Gregory Mone