Science Art: 3D movie taken by the Terrain Camera (TC) of KAGUYA (SELENE) during its maneuvered falling to the Moon.), Japanese Space Agency JAXA.

(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.

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