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Tuesday, 9th June 2009
In General Japan News,

Japanese lunar probe to crash-land on moon

The Japanese Kaguya lunar orbiter is to conclude its research mission in dramatic fashion by crash-landing on the moon later this week.

Observers will be watching the moon's near side for the final impact made by the probe, which has been in orbit around Earth's satellite since late 2007, at 18:30 GMT on June 10th.

The mission of the Kaguya probe, formerly codenamed Selene, was to aid study of the evolution of the moon by collecting data on its composition and gravitational field, as well as recording high-definition video of its surface.

Collision with the moon is the typical destiny of such orbiters, with the European Space Agency's SMART-1 and the Chinese Chang'e 1 among the probes to impact upon the lunar surface in the last two years.

Shin-ichi Sobue, a spokesperson for the Kaguya mission, described the forthcoming collision as "a final show for the Japanese people".

Later this week, the Nasa space shuttle Endeavour will launch on a mission to help complete the Japanese Kibo laboratory module of the International Space Station.

Written by Mark Smith