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Check out Earth’s stunning cameo in this moon flyover video

NASA is busy making preparations to send the first woman and next man to the moon in the coming years, but you can visit right now thanks to an impressive piece of work by space enthusiast Seán Doran.

Doran pulled together a huge amount of footage and photos captured by Japan’s Kaguya lunar orbiter more than a decade ago to create a four-hour flyover video showing the lunar surface in incredible detail.

Posted on YouTube at the end of last month, the mesmerizing video takes you over the surface of our nearest neighbor at a gentle pace. The footage captures the moon under a range of lighting conditions that highlight its stark, crater-strewn landscape.

The Moon. For REAL.

4 hours of @JAXA_en Kaguya Orbiter archive converted to real time.

Denoised, repaired, graded & retimed.

Full version:

— Seán Doran (@_TheSeaning) February 1, 2021

Unless you’re a big fan of “slow TV,” or have a major interest in the moon, you probably won’t want to sit through the entire four hours … at least not in one sitting. But don’t leave without catching Earth’s breathtaking cameo appearances, first at the 9:18 mark, and then, half in darkness, at 1:24:10.

Japan’s Kaguya orbiter — officially called SELENE, short for  Selenological and Engineering Explorer — arrived at the moon in 2007 and spent the next 20 months orbiting it.

For much of the time, the spacecraft orbited the moon at an altitude of about 62 miles, allowing it to complete its mission objectives that included studying the origins of the moon (including its geologic evolution), gathering data about the lunar surface environment, and carrying out radio science work that included precise measurement of the moon’s gravity field. Finally, when the mission was declared over, Kaguya was directed to crash onto the lunar surface near the Gill crater in June 2009.

Did you know that astronomers recently spotted what they dubbed a “mini-moon” orbiting Earth? But instead of a piece of space rock, it turned out to be something very different.

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