These aren’t renderings, special effects, or a scene from No Man’s Sky. This is actual footage of the earth and the moon, as seen by Japan’s Kaguya spacecraft in October 2008. Shot with a pair of 2.2 megapixel HDTV sensors, it’s some of the first HD footage of our nearest neighbour that humans ever captured.
From 2007 to 2009, three Japanese scientific probes comprising the Selenological and Engineering Explorer (SELENE) mission orbited the Moon, collecting troves of data along with some spectacular photos. This week, the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA, publicly released all of the images captured by the mission’s primary photographer, Kaguya.
I highly recommend taking some time to pore through the entire archive. But first, enjoy these arrestingly beautiful shots of Earthrise and Earthset, courtesy of JAXA and The Planetary Society. Be sure you’ve got a box of tissues nearby.