In its final days before crashing into the surface of the moon on June 11, Japan's KAGUYA explorer has been shooting high-definition footage of the lunar terrain from low altitude.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which operates the HD camera-equipped probe along with public broadcaster NHK, has uploaded two videos on YouTube.

The first video (embedded above) was shot from an altitude of about 11 kilometers (7 miles) up, at between 45 and 52 degrees south latitude and 262 and 263 degrees east longitude.

The second video, which offers a view of the Antoniadi lunar crater, was shot from an altitude of about 21 kilometers (13 miles) up, at between 64 and 70 degrees south latitude and 186 and 188 degrees east longitude.

After its launch in late 2007, KAGUYA started in orbit about 100 kilometers (62 miles) above the moon. In February 2009 the probe dropped to an altitude of 50 kilometers (31 miles), and in April it dropped to between 10 and 30 kilometers (6 - 19 miles).

The KAGUYA probe will end its scientific exploration of the moon with a controlled impact on the lunar surface. The crash, scheduled for 3:30 AM (Japan standard time) on June 11, 2009 (6:30 PM GMT on June 10, 2009), will occur in the shadow on the near side of the moon, at 63 degrees south latitude and 80 degrees east longitude.

Map showing location of KAGUYA's impact --
The red star shows where KAGUYA is expected to crash

JAXA has not announced whether the probe will film its own demise.

[Link: JAXA // YouTube]