Advanced Search

Please click here to take a brief survey

Japan's Selene satellite aims to get best Moon views yet
Emily Gertz, 19 Sep 07

I love space exploration -- the promise of new science and new information about the world(s) around us is so bracing! -- so I'm happy to note today's successful launch by Japan of a Moon exploration satellite around 10:30 local time from the Tanegashima Space Center. According to, "The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is calling it the biggest lunar mission since NASA's Apollo programme. The JPY 32 billion (US$279 million) satellite, called the Selenological and Engineering Explorer (SELENE), will survey the Moon's mineralogy, topology and gravity gradients."

What most Americans don't know, and perhaps other nationals as well, is that the Apollo missions did not fully map the Moon. So SELENE will be sending back a lot of new data via 15 different devices on board, from "an X-ray spectrometer and a gamma-ray spectrometer for mapping the Moon's surface in unrivalled detail, and a terrain camera, laser altimeter and radar sounder that will provide surface and subsurface data for studying the Moon's tectonic history." SELENE may help us finally solve the puzzle of where the Moon actually came from, as well as being an advance guard towards a proposed Japanese moon base.

And ah, the romance of space: "SELENE is referred to in Japan as 'Kaguya', after a mythical princess that returned to the Moon after scorning various suitors on Earth."

See some past Worldchanging coverage of space exploration:

2005: Mars Exploration Rovers "Spirit" and "Opportunity"

2004: A welcome to Sedna, our solar system's 10th planet. Probably...

2004: Greens in Space

Bookmark and Share



MESSAGE (optional):

Search Worldchanging

Worldchanging Newsletter Get good news for a change —
Click here to sign up!


Website Design by Eben Design | Logo Design by Egg Hosting | Hosted by Amazon AWS | Problems with the site? Send email to tech /at/
Architecture for Humanity - all rights reserved except where otherwise indicated.

Find_us_on_facebook_badge.gif twitter-logo.jpg