Kaguya Lunar Probe Sends Final HD Images Before Crash-Landing

The spacecraft's final moments, with the lunar surface drawing ever nearer
Before crashing to the surface last week, Japan's Kaguya probe sent back a series of seven high-resolution images just a few thousand feet above the lunar surface. Return to Article JAXA/NHK

The Japan Space Agency’s Kaguya lunar explorer, after a mission that included new geological surveys and lots of gloriously detailed HD footage of the moon’s surface, crash landed into a large crater on the moon’s near side this week. And JAXA today released its final images, depicting the final moments of its descent. Updated with video.

These are stills taken with the craft’s HD video camera; most likely, a video feed was impossible due to transmission times, which is unfortunate. Seeing a high-def crash landing on the moon would have been quite a sight.

Update: Shows how much I know–JAXA has released an amazing video of the descent:

Click here to see the final seven images, and a map showing Kaguya’s final resting place.