Emily LakdawallaNov 18, 2008

Kaguya now in its extended mission

Chandrayaan-1 arrived at the Moon at just about the time that Kaguya completed its primary mission and entered its extended mission. I've received some information from Shin-ichi Sobue at JAXA on the plans for Kaguya's extended mission, and they're interesting to say the least.

Kaguya (SELENE)


Kaguya (SELENE)

But, given the lumpy gravity field of the Moon, this orbit is not particularly stable. So, later that year, between June and August, Kaguya is expected to crash into the Moon. Kaguya is a very big spacecraft, so this is an event that might be observable from Earth, if the conditions are right. (Obviously it needs to crash on the near side of the Moon, but it'd also be easier to spot the impact, ironically, if it crashed in the dark -- the infrared flash from the heat of impact would be the easiest thing to detect.)

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