Lunar probe Kaguya's final shots of the Moon

Launched in September 14, 2007, Japan’s Kaguya (a.k.a. SELENE) successfully completed its mission of collecting data on the Earth’s satellite and was terminated by a controlled collision on the lunar surface on June 11, 2009.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which supervised the mission, just released Kaguya’s final motion picture shots of the Moon’s surface taken by its Terrain Camera just prior to its maneuvered crash landing.

The 1-minute video below shows the lunar probe cruising very low on the moon’s surface 12 minutes before impact; its final footage just before impact were pitch dark because it landed on the darkened part of the near right side of the moon near Gill Crater.

Kaguya’s low-altitude cruise on the lunar surface before impact

Last high-definition still photos before impact

JAXA also released still images taken by Kaguya’s onboard High-Definition Television (HDTV) at one-minute intervals while it decreased its altitude from 27km to 14km before impact. Higher quality photos are available at JAXA’s website.