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Japanese spacecraft captures first HD Earth-rise from lunar orbit

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NHK (Japan Public Broadcasting) Nov. 6 captured the world's first HD image of an Earth-rise from lunar orbit by the JAXA lunar explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE).

The spacecraft was set into a lunar orbit at an altitude of about 62mi from the moon’s surface Oct. 17, 2007.

The image is reminiscent of those from the U.S. Apollo project, the first mission to take images of Earth rising over the moon. The HD KAGUYA images, however, were of the Earth-rise, showing the blue Earth afloat in space, taken with an HD camera. The Earth-rise and Earth-set phenomena are only viewable from orbit, not the surface of the moon, said the Japanese space agency. These are the world's first HD images taken from about a quarter of a million miles from the Earth in space.

KAGUYA's onboard HDTV camera, developed for use in space by NHK, took the images. The moving image data acquired by the KAGUYA was received at the JAXA Usuda Deep Space Center and processed by NHK.

(Editor’s note: The dates used in this story are U.S. dates.)

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