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Has Japan's Kaguya probe met its planned end?
The Japanese Kaguya spacecraft, in orbit around the moon since 2007, was scheduled to meet its planned demise today with a lunar impact at about 2:25 P.M. (Eastern Daylight Time). More than two hours later a link to a photo that may show the probe's plunge appeared on Twitter, but before that time confirmation was hard to come by, and details remain scarce.

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A Japanese probe finished more than a year of orbiting the moon by crash-landing onto the lunar surface, officials said Thursday.
The Kaguya probe hit the moon at about 1825 GMT, Wednesday, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

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The Japanese lunar orbiter Kaguya has completed its main mission. But there was one final scientific endeavour: It slammed into the moon's surface at about 2:25 p.m. EDT (18:25 UT) Wednesday.

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A 20h30 précises mercredi soir, la sonde Kaguya devait s'écraser sur la Lune. Une fin de course qui n'a rien d'un accident. Cette sonde lunaire japonaise a simplement terminé sa mission débutée en septembre 2007. Elle avait pour objectif d'étudier la Lune et son champ magnétique. Son crash était prévu, pour éviter qu'elle ne vienne polluer l'espace.

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Japanese spacecraft Kaguya will crash into the moon at around midnight Wednesday and the impact, followed by flashes of light, will be visible from the earth to the naked eye, a scientist said here.
The 2,600 kg spacecraft will slam into the moons surface at a speed of over 6,000 km per hour on its southeastern side, according to Bharat Adur, the director of the Akashganga Centre for Astronomy and a former senior scientist with the Nehru Planetarium.


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The Japanese lunar orbiter Kaguya has completed a productive operational phase and will conclude its scientific mission with a controlled impact on the lunar surface, scheduled for 20:30 CEST today.
The impact is expected to occur on the near-side of the Moon, in the dark area close to the limb, at lunar coordinates 80°E and 64°S.
ESA's SMART-1 team have prepared maps of the Kaguya landing site using survey images obtained by the SMART-1 AMIE camera. The images show that the satellite's final orbit and impact site lie in an ancient cratered highland. 

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moonimpactb.jpg
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Rough location of impact

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UPDATE:
Expected impact date:        18:25, June 10, 2009 (GMT) Near side, night time area
Expected impact location:                     80.4º East, 65.5º South
Lunar phase & age on impact date:     17.3 (London)

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The Japanese Kaguya lunar orbiter  is scheduled to impact onto the Moons surface  on the south-eastern limb (80º East, 63º South), at 18:30 UT, 10th June, 2009.
The impact should be visible from Asia and Australia.

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Japan's Kaguya lunar orbiter has beamed home a spectacular movie of Earth eclipsing the sun as seen from the moon.
Kaguya caught the stunning sight on Feb. 10 and used its high definition camera to record the moment when the Earth looked like a diamond ring.
This HDTV moment in time and space came when a penumbral lunar eclipse occurred and the view of the sun from the Kaguya was mostly covered by the Earth, thus the Earth looked like a diamond ring. The moon's limb, hidden by darkness, obscures part of the lower portion of the ring.

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The Japanese lunar explorer KAGUYA (SELENE) has been operating since nominal operations started in December 2007 to elucidate the origin and evolution of the Moon. Four KAGUYA research reports using observation data from the Terrain Camera onboard the KAGUYA and a perspective titled "Seeing the Missing Half" were published as part of a KAGUYA special edition in Science Magazine dated February 13, 2009.
This special edition, which is featured on the cover page, is epoch-making and succeeds the special issues of planetoid explorer "HAYABUSA" in June 2006 and the solar observation satellite "HINODE" in December 2007.

The titles of the research reports in Science magazine that aim to provide new knowledge to stimulate the study of the origin and evolution of the Moon are as follows:
1) Lunar Radar Sounder Observations  of Subsurface Layers under the Nearside Maria* of the Moon
2) Farside Gravity Field of the Moon from the Four-way Doppler Measurements of the SELENE (Kaguya)
3) The Lunar Global Shape and Polar Topography Derived from Kaguya-LALT Laser Altimetry
4) The Long-lived Volcanism on the Lunar Farside Revealed by the SELENE Terrain Camera

* The relay satellite "OKINA (RSTAR)" made an impact on the lunar surface on February 12, 2009 (JST), and the four-way Doppler measurement mission was successfully completed.
* Mare (Plural maria): Any of the large and low-lying dark areas on the Moon. The lunar maria is believed to consist of volcanic basalts.

Source JAXA

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