JAXA releases stunning new pictures of the moon

Back in 2007, the Kaguya spacecraft went into polar orbit around the moon. It got extremely close – just 100km away from the surface – and it was packing two 2.2-megapixel CCD HDTV cameras with which to capture the moon in all its barren, dusky glory.[gallery:2]

A few of the photos have been released into the public domain over the years, but JAXA – the Japanese space agency – has outdone its early efforts by releasing the entire dataset of more than 450 photographs and videos.[gallery:7]

You can dig through the full catalogue here, if you have the inclination, but to save you a bit of time, we’ve dug through and picked out some personal favourites. Click on the gallery, and enjoy the stark beauty of the moon from orbit. It’s a lovely place to visit onscreen, even if you wouldn’t want to live there.[gallery:9]

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