Friday, September 22 2023
Clear Sky
66.56°F New York

1 € = $ 1.0699
1 $ = € 0.9347

Japan's lunar lander snaps glorious photo of Earth during a total solar eclipse

solar photo
Image credit: ispace
Days before Japan's Hakuto-R lunar lander apparently crashed into the moon's surface on Tuesday (April 25), it snapped a truly gorgeous picture of our planet. The image, which is reminiscent of Apollo 8's iconic "Earthrise"(opens in new tab) photo, shows our planet sitting on top of the lunar horizon like a perfect blue marble. The moon's shadow can be seen passing over Australia, which was experiencing a total solar eclipse at the time (April 20).
Hakuto-R launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as part of Tokyo-based private space company ispace's Mission 1 last December. If it had been successful, it would have represented the first commercial craft to touch down on the moon. Unfortunately, that wasn't in the cards. 
Earlier this week, Hakuto-R made its final approach toward the lunar surface. It had traveled 879,000 miles (1.4 million kilometers) to reach its position in orbit around the moon. But as the craft began its 60-mile (100 km) descent, ground controllers unexpectedly lost contact with it, The Washington Post reported.
One of the last known images captured by Japan's Hakuto-R lander before crashing into the moon shows a stunning 'Earthrise', with the shadow of the moon creeping over Australia during a total solar eclipse.