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South Korea’s first lunar probe has returned some stunning images of the Earth and Moon.
The Korean Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter began orbiting the Moon in December Korea Aerospace Research Institutehis spacecraft It was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in August.
The probe, also known as “Danori” thanks to a public naming contest in the country that combined the Korean words for moon and enjoyment, will orbit the moon for 11 months.
The rover’s stunning images of the Earth and Moon in black and white look like something photographer Ansel Adams would have taken had he relished such an opportunity. The orbiter is flying 62 miles (100 kilometers) above the lunar surface.
The data collected by the orbiter will be used to inform future lunar exploration, including the Artemis program, which aims to eventually land humans at the moon’s south pole in late 2024.
The probe’s images could help select landing sites for future Artemis missions, as well as map resources such as water.
South Korea signed the Artemis Accords in 2021 and is cooperating with NASA on lunar exploration.
The probe carries six instruments, including one funded by NASA ShadowCamDeveloped by Arizona State University.
South Korean universities and research institutes have developed the probe’s high-resolution camera to explore future landing sites, a polarizing camera for analyzing surface particles, an instrument for measuring the lunar magnetic field, and a gamma-ray spectrometer for identifying elements on the lunar surface.
ShadowCam’s main goal is to take pictures of the permanently shadowed regions near the moon’s poles that will help researchers Finding ice, mapping terrain, and observing seasonal changes.
ShadowCam is hundreds of times more sensitive than the cameras on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, allowing it to capture detailed images in incredibly low-light conditions.
The probe recently used its ShadowCam to look inside Shackleton Crater, one of the permanently shadowed regions on the moon’s surface.
Previous images of this crater by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter were able to pinpoint its bright edge, but ShadowCam could already see inside, including the floor of the crater and the rocky tracks left by rocks after they fell inside.
Officials in See the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, or KARI According to the organization, the Danuri orbiter is “as a first step to ensuring and validating its ability to explore space.”
The United States, Russia, Japan, China, the European Union, and India have all sent missions to the Moon, and South Korea wants to Dive into space exploration and develop his own missions.
According to the institute, “Korea plans to successfully land on the moon or asteroids and return safely.” “Korea expects to achieve strategic space technologies.”
In addition to the orbiter, KARI aims to perform an initial lunar landing on the Moon by 2030.
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