(Larger version here.)
This is the Japanese lunar probe Kayuga (Selene) crashing into the Moon.
More specifically, this is a 3D rendering of data sent by the probe as it ended its mission – just as it was programmed to do. Silently. Inexorably. Beautifully. There’s a Japanese word, aware (ah-wah-ray), that describes the beauty of sadness and transience. It’s a wonderful concept.
Here, we have built a masterful, efficient, gleaming machine. We are sending it to the moon. It will destroy itself there. We will learn much from this.
And then it will be gone forever.