Final Frame

KAGUYA's final image
KAGUYA's final image

This haunting photo is the last image sent back by Japan’s KAGUYA probe before it crashed into the lunar surface at the end of its mission on June 10, 2009.

Coming in for a landing: four minutes earlier.
Coming in for a landing: four minutes earlier.

A tiny sliver of sunlight illuminates the rocky rim of a crater as the probe’s high-definition camera stares into the pitch black lunar shadows below.

Seconds later KAGUYA collided with the moon.

The entire sequence of the probe’s final images can be seen here.

Many observatories on Earth were watching the moon for signs of the impact, and while small and brief the flash from the probe’s landing was captured by the Anglo-Australian Telescope in New South Wales, Australia.


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