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Moon Space Science

From the Moon to Earth in HD 156

Posted by Zonk
from the tiny-grey-marble dept.
Lucas123 writes "The Japan Space Agency's Kaguya spacecraft is currently orbiting the moon and its equipment is being tested in preparation for its real mission to map the moon with high-definition images later this month. Almost as an afterthought, the space craft has recreated one of the most memorable photos in the history of spaceflight — an Earth-rise from lunar orbit."
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From the Moon to Earth in HD

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  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info@devinm o o r e .com> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @07:57PM (#21356877) Homepage Journal
    i thought it might have HD time-lapse of the earth rising... instead it just has some composite images of same at smaller resolution. I was all ready with my 2001-2010 quotes and music and everything!

  • Apollo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kalpol (714519) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @07:59PM (#21356891) Homepage
    I'm curious if they'll be able to see the Apollo landing sites. Have we had a look at them since we left? That would be the first place I'd visit if I landed on the moon - there ought to be some interesting data available from the materials left out in baking space for 30-odd years.
    • I'm curious if they'll be able to see the Apollo landing sites.

      The optics package is probably not large enough to resolve to the required level of detail (unless that was a specific mission goal for them). Perhaps someone with more time and inclination could break out the old college physics textbook, flip to the optics section, and calculate the size of the lens necessary to spot a 3m^2 object from an orbital altitude of sixty miles?
      • Re:Apollo (Score:4, Informative)

        by Chosen Reject (842143) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @08:27PM (#21357169)
        Not exactly what you were looking for, but relevant all the same. [cornell.edu] My compliments to hardburn [slashdot.org] for the link.
        • by zzottt (629458)
          very cool find, thanks!
        • Assuming that guy did his math right and that this guy (me) did his math right. Then, assuming a 10 cm objective on that camera, they should be able to resolve down to about 70 cm. That should be sufficient to see the base of the lander.
    • Re:Apollo (Score:5, Funny)

      by Zordak (123132) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @08:29PM (#21357183) Homepage Journal

      I'm curious if they'll be able to see the Apollo landing sites.
      That thing has some pretty impressive cameras, but I don't think it's good enough to take hi-res pictures of Arizona.
    • Tricky, with the Hollywood writers strike. I assume the studios knew about this Japanese probe in advance, though, and the special effects guys were able to work up something to put in the can. Now they just have to sneak it into the stream coming from this probe.
    • by zzottt (629458)
      I was thinking the same thing. I want to see the tracks and stuff more then some ol crater
    • I'm curious if they'll be able to see the Apollo landing sites.
      I doubt that the Kaguya spacecraft can maintain a low enough orbit to enter the filming studio.
    • that thing might not be able to see it, but there is a lab that regularly bounces laser light off of reflectors that were left there by americans and russians

      http://physics.ucsd.edu/~tmurphy/apollo/apollo.html [ucsd.edu]

  • I didn't read the article - I've heard a few stories about things recently being filmed in HD. Why I am unclear about is, haven't we had HD capturing technology for a long time (if you had the money?) For instance, I'm certain that a lot of imaging arrays that NASA use are already HD, when I mean 'already' - I mean well before the average joe goes to circuit city and buys an LCD HD display. What am I missing here? Shouldn't we have already tonnes of HD footage?
    • IMAX (Score:3, Insightful)

      by corsec67 (627446)
      IMAX [wikipedia.org], could be scanned at 10000 x 7000 pixels, which definitely qualifies as HD.
      And we already have quite a bit of IMAX footage.
      • Two projects I'd like to see done.

        1) IMAX camera in lunar orbit.
        2) IMAX camera on lunar rover.
        3) IMAX Camera in Mars orbit.

        Damn, three, three projects I'd like to see done.

        I'll come in again...

        Actually an IMAX camera anywhere in the solar system.

        Can you imagine IMAX-quality images taken from Saturn orbit?
        • by corsec67 (627446)
          The problem is that IMAX is a film camera, so you would have to get the film back to this planet.

          Unless you want to use a very high resolution movie camera like the Red One.
          • by ashitaka (27544)
            I know. What we need is IMAX-digital.

            And now you're talking waaay too much bandwidth.
    • by F1_Fan (255672)
      There's a big difference between still images and real-time 30fps HD video. HDTV requires a lot of horsepower (to capture and compress) and bandwidth (to transmit back).

      Also, a lot of what we've seen as high-res older NASA stuff is scanned from film. Something like, 35mm film is easily capable of looking good at 1920x1080.

      Any video (not stills, but video)that NASA transmitted electronically was much lower resolution. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think still images from Mars that looked high-res
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "...haven't we had HD capturing technology for a long time"

      Back in the Apollo days it was called a Hassleblad.
    • Public Relations (Score:5, Informative)

      by iamlucky13 (795185) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @09:20PM (#21357693)
      The HD camera on SELENE is a PR instrument [selene.jaxa.jp]. Video is useful for things that change. The moon, for the most part, does not change, and the HD camera does not produce scientifically useful images of the moon. SELENE can only take about a minute worth of video.

      High Definition as a proper noun generally refers to 1920x1080 resolution, but the various space agencies have produced much higher resolution images for years. The 35mm film shot during the Apollo missions is being scanned into 3070x2044 pixel images, for example, and the medium format film is being scanned at a huge 12800x12800 pixels. The Mars rovers carry 1 MP (1024 x 1024) cameras, and the images are often stitched together into far larger mosaics. I've seen some that even as JPG's take up over 100 MB (and crash IE). The Hubble Space Telescope's highest resolution camera is also only 1024x1024 pixels, and I believe this was chosen to approximate the maximum resolution of the optics, but again, large mosaics are common.

      The High Resolution Imaging Scientific Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter takes a different approach and is what's called a "push broom camera." Instead of taking rectangular pictures every so often, it scans a single line of up to 20,000 pixels continuously at the rate the spacecraft moves over the ground. In this way it builds up images up to 40,000 pixels long (800 megapixels...now that's high def!), at which point the file has to be transmitted to earth or the camera runs out of memory.
  • by Mad-cat (134809) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @08:04PM (#21356953) Homepage
    These are obvious fakes! Everyone knows the moon doesn't exist and was just made as a fake destination so America could fake a landing on its surface to beat the Soviets!

    Top that crazy conspiracy theory!
    • I had to laugh when the conspiracy folks made a great stab at the lack of stars. The intensity of the stars and the intensity of the earth is no where near each other. To expose the stars, would severly overexpose the earth and moon in the photos. In properly exposing the earth and moon, the stars simply don't show up. If they did, I would know the photos were fake. Not mentioned, is the angle of sunlight matches properly in the photos to the illumination of the earth. I hope they take more photos wit
    • As taken from this comment [slashdot.org]:

      It amazes me that so many allegedly "educated" people have fallen so quickly and so hard for a fraudulent fabrication of such laughable proportions. The very idea that a gigantic ball of rock happens to orbit our planet, showing itself in neat, four-week cycles -- with the same side facing us all the time -- is ludicrous. Furthermore, it is an insult to common sense and a damnable affront to intellectual honesty and integrity. That people actually believe it is evidence that the l

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You forgot the part about the fake soviets.
  • Earth doesn't move (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @08:07PM (#21356981) Homepage Journal
    There's an interesting phenomenon that most people don't consider. Since the moon rotates about its axis at the same period as its orbit, the earth always appears at the same place in the sky when viewed from a given location on the surface of the moon (unless of course you were on the "dark" side of the moon).

    That would be incredibly useful for navigation!

    The article seemed to misstate this fact:
    Since the moon's rotation matches the Earth's rotation of the sun, the Earth will always appear to be in the same spot if seen by an astronaut standing on the moon.

    Doesn't that infer the moon's rotation is 365.25 days?

    Dan East
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Technician (215283)
      Doesn't that infer the moon's rotation is 365.25 days?

      No. If you thing of the earth and moon as orbiting each other, the earth could be considered in geostationary orbit. The earth and moon as they circle each other has the same side of the moon facing the earth at all times.

      http://www.learner.org/channel/courses/essential/earthspace/session7/closer1.html [learner.org]
      Orbital period (days) 27.32166
      Rotational period (days) 27.32166
      http://www.solarviews.com/eng/moon.htm [solarviews.com]

      The moon has about 13 days a year.
    • by k8to (9046)
      Well the main problem is guessing what the "Earth's rotation of the sun" might mean. On the face of it, it is nonsense.
    • by niteice (793961)

      (unless of course you were on the "dark" side of the moon).
      There is no dark side of the moon really...matter of fact, it's all dark.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      This is quoted from http://www.digipro.com/Trials/moon.html [digipro.com] because I don't want to /. their servers.

      The moon is tidal locked with Earth.

      When a given moon is small enough compared to the planet it orbits (Earth-Moon) the bigger object has the ability to drastically change the orbit of the smaller one. When two rotating bodies orbit each other, they raise tides in each other. These tides cause mechanical friction. So tidal activity absorbs a lot of energy out of the rotational energy of the bodies. In ot

    • Not really... It gives you (crudely) longitude and (crudely) latitude. IIRC accurate to about 5-10 miles. (The problem is that the Earth not only isn't a point source - the atmosphere fudges the edge a bit.)
    • by jmichaelg (148257)
      365.25? How Julian [wikipedia.org] of you!
  • Will Sony pull a similar stunt to stay competitive?
    • They already have one of those, it's called "Ur Anus 7". And damn, it sure is more entertaining than those other HD photos.
    • by Nyeerrmm (940927)
      You know, I know you're trying to be funny, but I really like that idea. I suppose we'll just have to see how the Lunar X-Prize works out.
  • I'm still looking for the huge versions of these pictures. The best I've found are two 1920x1080 images [selene.jaxa.jp] on the agency website. While these are HD, I need something I can fit nicely on to my desktop (3840x1200). Some of the stills coming from the ISS are great for this.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ... from 1968 (Apollo 8)!
    http://history.nasa.gov/ap08fj/photos/b/as08-14-2383.jpg [nasa.gov]

    ... from 1976 (Viking)!
    http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/mars_surface_vik2_big.jpg [nasa.gov]

    ... from 1979 (Voyager)!
    http://oursun.open.ac.uk/images/jupiterp_cassini_full.jpg [open.ac.uk]

    What makes this new "first HD camera in space" so special (yes, I know the Apollo images are shot on film, but Viking and Voyager had video cameras)?
    • by pecosdave (536896)
      I think the 30+ year old ones looked better than what we just got. Just think, 1970's images, I'm not 100% sure if that's some sort of old digital photo NASA used then (which is very impressive) or more like an analog TV transmission. If it was analog TV scan, I'm incredibly impressed with the old ones.
  • Excuse me for not exactly jumping for joy over the news of shiny new HD footage from the Moon. Is this actually an improvement over previous probes? What were they using before, consumer-grade camcorders? I would have thought film, which usually still has HD beat.
    • by xealot (96947)
      I believe the original famous picture shot from this perspective was shot with a Hasselblad. I think even with 1970's film stock, 120 film still qualifies as HD, probably even more so than this new digital picture. I could be wrong however...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MarcoAtWork (28889)
        120 film if properly scanned would qualify as way, way, way more than HD, especially if it was shot with decent glass (you can easily scan 120 film at 4800dpi, and it's 6 inches wide, you do the math...)
      • by fbjon (692006)
        Still pictures don't qualify as HDTV. Those Hasselblads took impressive stills, but no HD video.
  • Some movies (Score:4, Informative)

    by wooferhound (546132) <tim@@@wooferhound...com> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @08:25PM (#21357151) Homepage
    Look on this page for High Res Pics
    http://www.jaxa.jp/press/2007/11/20071113_kaguya_e.html#pict01 [www.jaxa.jp]
    and these movies of EarthRise and EarthSet
    http://space.jaxa.jp/movie/20071113_kaguya_movie01_e.html [space.jaxa.jp]
    http://space.jaxa.jp/movie/20071113_kaguya_movie02_e.html [space.jaxa.jp]
    • by HeyBob! (111243)
      Is it just me, or does anyone else see the craters as bubbles at first (convex instead of the proper concave)?
      I know they're craters, but it took about 30's to get my brain to see them as craters.
  • on TV in HD today (Score:3, Informative)

    by MarcoAtWork (28889) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @08:36PM (#21357245)
    it should be on in about half an hour (5pm PST) on Discovery HD for 30 minutes, not sure how much of the footage they're going to show (or if it's only on the Canadian Discovery HD) but it's on my cable box's IPG so do check it out, I seem to recall also that it will be repeated at least twice in the next few days.
  • Okay, call me dumbo, but why is the Earth upside down in those pictures, I mean south pole up?
    • A. It's not upside down. I can see the Arabian peninsula and africa, and they face the right way.

      B. They could take an "upside down" picture of Earth by rotating the camera or orbiter 180 degrees. "Upside down" is fairly meaningless in space.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by JrOldPhart (1063610)
      Why would you consider North to be up?

      You fail the Kahn test. You are thinking two dimensionally.

      Up would be away from the nearest gravity source.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by domanova (729385)
      That's actually very interesting. Rotate the picture (better, the movies) 180 so our north pole is 'up' and the whole thing looks different. You're not 'flying over'; you're 'skimming under' or some such. A quite different perception
  • Rats, I thought this was about the miniseries [imdb.com] to HD. :P
  • I assume that the concept of "the Earth rising from the Moon" is an artifact of the Satellite orbiting the Moon...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I assume that the concept of "the Earth rising from the Moon" is an artifact of the Satellite orbiting the Moon...

      From the JAXA Selene site that is linked to from TFA:

      we use the expression "Earth-rise" in this press release, but the Earth-rise is a phenomenon seen only from satellites that travel around the Moon, such as the KAGUYA and the Apollo space ship. The Earth-rise cannot be observed by a person who is on the Moon as they can always see the Earth at the same position.

  • on what planet is 550x309 considered "HD" ?

  • HD? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by popo (107611) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @01:40AM (#21359973) Homepage
    This isn't meant as a troll... The shots are indeed beautiful.
    But I was a little disappointed by the categorization of "HD"

    Those seemed like pretty 'standard def' to me...

    Are there higher res shots somewhere else?
  • Sure, HD is cool. But for science return - resolution is what matters. Anyone know what the resolution of this camera is?
  • Photo #1 looks remarkably like the scene from the opening credits to Space 1999. Are we sure these are for real?
  • any chance of a high res photo of the appollo landing sites so we can put the kooky's to bed?
    • by demon (1039)
      Well, they'd just say those were faked too. There's always a loophole.
      • by MrKaos (858439)

        Well, they'd just say those were faked too. There's always a loophole.
        aaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrr rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggg ggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

        Umm, I guess I just want to see the fake photos???? Even though I know your right!!!

  • The poster writes: "Almost as an afterthought, the space craft has recreated one of the most memorable photos in the history of spaceflight -- an Earth-rise from lunar orbit."

    This seems to suggest that the spacecraft makes author-like decisions. But either the camera and/or craft are remote controlled, in which case the photo is not an afterthought but a deliberate attempt to make that photo, or the camera operates completely automatic, in which case the "afterthought" comment is an anthropomorphism.

    Not tha
  • I half expected a Gundam to fly by.
  • by sootman (158191) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @12:58PM (#21365919) Homepage Journal
    No, wait, sorry 'bout that. Yeah, that's a moon. Carry on.
  • If only JAXA released the HD prints instead of releasing Web 2.0 thumbnails and saying it's HD.

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