When it comes to moon missions, everyone is familiar with Apollo and NASA's exploits decades ago. But humanity hasn't been able to leave our closest satellite alone.
Japan's space agency, JAXA, sent three SELENE-mission spacecraft to orbit the moon between 2007 and 2009. SELENE left us with a rich visual legacy that is just now getting attention after JAXA made its full stash of HD videos public.
The Planetary Society posted videos of an Earthrise and two Earthsets this week. The footage comes from a spacecraft called Kaguya, which was equipped with HD video cameras. The Earthrise is particularly interesting. It shows the moon rotating as the Earth rises through a filter of artistic-looking lens flare.
The Earthset video gives us an otherworldly look at our planet sinking below the moon's horizon through a haze of sun glare. A third video shows another Earthset with the planet's swirls of oceans and clouds visible as it disappears behind the moon's rough surface.
Kaguya ended its mission with an impact on the near side of the Moon in June 2009. The craft's video footage gives us a unique perspective on our planet, one that reminds us of the awe-inducing wonders of space exploration.