By Andrew Liszewski
While the moon seems like something mankind already conquered decades ago, when you actually think about it only 12 human beings have ever set foot on its surface. And while I’m sure most of us would jump at the chance to visit the moon, it will still be a few more decades before something like that becomes feasible. So in the meantime I’m kind of excited to see that the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (or JAXA) currently has a lunar explorer equipped with a high definition TV camera circling our nearest celestial neighbor. So far the camera has only shot two small sections of the moon’s surface from its orbit of about 100 km above, but I can only assume its work is far from done.
The image taking was performed twice on October 31. Both were eight-fold speed intermittent shooting (eight minutes is converged to one minute.) The first shooting covered from the northern area of the “Oceanus Procellarum” toward the center of the North Pole, then the second one was from the south to the north on the western side of the “Oceanus Procellarum.” The moving image data acquired by the KAGUYA was received at the JAXA Usuda Deep Space Center, and processed by NHK.
It’s kind of fitting that the first HD footage taken of the moon was processed by the NHK, since they were basically the ones who invented high definition TV in the first place. And if you’re curious, one of the clips is actually available to watch on the JAXA website, though it’s unfortunately not provided in HD. Hopefully it won’t be long until I can watch the footage in full resolution from the comfort of my own mission control (aka my couch.)