Kaguya (Selene)

Selene is the Greek Goddess of the full moon. I sometimes wonder what she sees when she’s looking at us.

full-earth-rise

Mia is really in touch with all the phases of the moon. You can ask her where it is, and what stage it’s in at any time, and she can tell you on the spot.

I’ve learned a lot of things about the moon from Mia, so it’s natural that I’ve become fascinated as well.

So it probably comes as no surprise that about two and a half years ago, Mia and I filled out our ‘Wish upon the Moon‘ form for JAXA’s Lunar Explorer named SELENE.

It was so cool think our message might be built into the Explorer named Selene and travel to the moon’s orbit.

The Orbitor SELENE was given the nickname ‘Kaguya’ by popular vote of people submitting names.

The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter (Taketori Monogatari): One day, an old bamboo cutter found a beautiful girl in a shining bamboo. The beautiful girl was named “Kaguya-hime” (Princess “KAGUYA,”) and the old man (“OKINA” in old Japanese) and his wife (an old woman, “OUNA”) brought her up with great care. As she grew up, many men proposed to marry her, but Kaguya-hime asked them to perform impossible tasks to prove their love and rejected their marriage proposals. On the night of a harvest moon, Kaguya-hime returns to the Moon with people who appear from the sky.

We have followed Kaguya since it’s Launch (Sept. 14th, 2007).

first-picture-of-the-moon

The first pictures it took of the moon.

earth-rise

The earth rising.

crescent-earth-rise

Crescent Earth Rise.

first-quarter

First quarter.

The photography and findings were incredible. Like this penumbral lunar eclipse:

lunar-eclipse

They even found the landing sites of Apollo 15 and 17. Check out their gallery. They have video’s as well, so you can watch the earth rise and set in real time.

earth-setting

and now the end.

On June 10th at 6:30pm GMT JAXA is doing a controlled impact of Kaguya on the moon to end the mission.

We’ll be celebrating it as Kaguya’s return to the moon. – Skippy