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Japanese Space Probe Beams High-Def Vids of Earth

While our space agency is off roving around Mars, collecting soil samples, filming twisters, and studying blueberries, Japanese astro-scientists are engaging in more techno-centric pursuits. The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) recently launched a spacecraft called Selene (or, confusingly, also known as KAGUYA) to orbit the moon and saw fit to grace it with a high-definition camera. With it, the agency has captured some impressive high-resolution footage of Earth rising and setting over the moon.

Unfortunately for us mere Earth-dwellers, JAXA isn't making those high-resolution videos publicly available, at least not yet. The videos the agency has released are instead captured at a resolution of 480x270 (480 pixels high by 270 pixels wide), which is actually a lower resolution than your old standard definition TV. The videos show the Earth gliding upward ahead of the probe and setting behind it.

So, color us disappointed on the HDTV front, but the low-res versions of the videos are still quite spectacular to watch, and the JAXA site does have two images -- Earth-rise and Earth-set -- available in a resolution that equates to HD-quality 1080p, or 1920x1080 pixels. To get the full effect, you'll need a large, high-resolution monitor, like Apple's 30'-inch Cinema Display, or the ability to output your computer to a 1080p-capable high-definition television.

The photos recreate the most famous image taken by the Apollo missions, "Earthrise," which shows a tiny blue earth rising above the lunar surface. Quite a sight, but we can't help but want those vids in 1080p, too ...

UPDATE: It appears Discovery HD will be broadcasting these videos tonight (11/14) at 7:00 PM ET, 8:00 PM PT. Thanks to tok for the heads up!


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Tags: 1080p, Earth, HDTV, High-definition, Japan, Moon, Space



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