Kaguya lifts off

KaguyaThe Japanese space agency, JAXA, launches the unmanned SELENE (Selenological and Engineering Explorer) spacecraft to orbit Earth’s moon. SELENE is nicknamed Kaguya after a princess of the moon from Japanese folklore. Kaguya is scheduled to enter a polar lunar orbit in October, where it will conduct experiments in spectography, radio science, and charged particle and gamma ray detection. Though Kaguya has an on-board camera to map lunar terrain, the views for which it will become most famous will be shot by two HDTV cameras supplied by Japanese television network NHK, providing spectacular views of the lunar surface as they would be seen by an orbiting explorer.