JAXA, NHK Shoot First Images of Moon's Surface in HDTV Using Kaguya Lunar Explorer

Nov 8, 2007
Hiroyuki Ogiwara, Nikkei Monozukuri
North Pole Area (still image cut out from the first image shooting)
North Pole Area (still image cut out from the first image shooting)
[Click to enlarge image]
The western side of Oceanus Procellarum (cut out from the second image shooting)
The western side of Oceanus Procellarum (cut out from the second image shooting)
[Click to enlarge image]
The west side of Oceanus Procellarum (cut from the second recording): Repsold, a crater with a diameter of about 107km, can be seen just underneath the center of the image. Repsold Valley is a channel crossing the crater.
The west side of Oceanus Procellarum (cut from the second recording): Repsold, a crater with a diameter of about 107km, can be seen just underneath the center of the image. Repsold Valley is a channel crossing the crater.
[Click to enlarge image]

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Japan Broadcasting Corp (NHK) succeeded in shooting images of the lunar surface with a high-definition television (HDTV) camera tailored to the space application.

The images were shot from the lunar explorer "Kaguya (Selene)," which was injected into a lunar orbit at an altitude of about 100 km Oct 18, 2007 (Japan Standard Time, same applies to the following). This is the world's first HD image shooting of the moon surface from about 100km above.

Images were shot twice on October 31, 2007. The first recording covered the northern area of "Oceanus Procellarum" toward the center of the North Pole. Oceanus Procellarum is the dark area on the moon surface called "ocean." (It is located at the left end of the northern hemisphere on the front side of the moon when seen from the Earth.)

The second recording covered the western side of the Oceanus Procellarum from the south to the north. The moving image data thus acquired were received at the JAXA Usuda Deep Space Center and processed by NHK. Both were eight-fold speed intermittent shooting in which 8 minutes were converged to 1 minute.

In the image obtained by the first shooting around the North Pole, the angle of the coming sunlight is lower because the altitude near the Pole is high, thus the shade of the crater topography looks long. Meanwhile, a crater with a diameter of about 107 km called Repsold is observed in the image taken by the second shooting.

The channel that crosses this crater is called Repsold Valley, and its length is reportedly about 180 km, equivalent to the distance between Tokyo and Shizuoka on the Tokaido Line in Japan.

Click for the moving image of the moon shot by the HDTV camera on Kaguya.)