Jun 10, 2009
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. EDT. 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.
A call to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) public affairs office reached a recorded message in Japanese, and a NASA spokesperson did not have details on the probe's impact. Calls to two observatories in Australia, where the event may have been visible through telescopes, went unanswered. And Alan Gilmore, resident superintendent at Mount John University Observatory in New Zealand, told ScientificAmerican.com that bad weather prevented a viewing opportunity from his location. "It was going to be a long shot anyway," Gilmore says, given Kaguya's planned landing site at the very edge of the moon's visible face.
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