Page last updated at 09:42 GMT, Thursday, 11 June 2009 10:42 UK

Japanese probe crashes into Moon

Kaguya  (Jaxa)
Kaguya carried two smaller sub-satellites, named Ouna and Okina

Japan's Kaguya probe has ended its mission at the Moon by crashing into the lunar surface.

The spacecraft, which has been studying Earth's satellite for the past 19 months, was commanded to make the impact at 1825 GMT on Thursday.

Japan's space agency (Jaxa) hopes Earth telescopes will have been able to see a flash or dust plume from the crash.

The probe carried out a global survey of the Moon, mapping its 3D topography, its gravity and its magnetic field.

Kaguya - formally known as Selene - also took some remarkable video of the lunar surface with a high-definition camera.

Its data should shed further light on the Moon's origin and evolution.

The end of mission impact follows those of China's Chang'e 1 spacecraft earlier this year and Europe's Smart-1 satellite in 2006.

Attention is now drawn to the US space agency's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) missions, which launch next week.

India's Chandrayaan 1 orbiter, launched in October last year, continues to circle the Moon.

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