The moon is so hot this year that current or future lunar missions are planned from the US, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Japan, and India. And there’s also South Korea, which launched its first lunar mission in August 2022. The Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) entered lunar orbit in December 2022 and recently returned some stunning images of Earth from the moon.
Shared by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), the images show Earth rising over the lunar horizon, captured by KPLO’s high-resolution camera. The spacecraft, also known as Danuri, is designed to scour the moon for resources such as water ice and metals.
The images were taken on December 24 and 28 when the spacecraft was 344 km and 124 km from the lunar surface, respectively. Both show the lunar terrain in the foreground with Earth’s beautiful marble rising above the horizon, captured by the Lunar Terrain Imager (LUTI) instrument, which will be used to find suitable locations for future landing missions. Capable of capturing images of the lunar surface with a spatial resolution of about 5 meters, the instrument is exploring on behalf of a proposed robotic lunar lander mission from South Korea, scheduled for the 2030s.
After KARI, the Danuri vehicle is now “currently conducting work such as verifying payload performance and adjusting bugs, and is scheduled to conduct full-scale scientific and technological missions starting in February.” It will use its six scientific instruments, including cameras, a magnetometer, a spectrometer and a NASA-provided mapping tool, to map the locations of water ice in areas of permanent shadow.
Another feature of the spacecraft is that it will also test a new communication technology in a fun way. The Delay-Tolerant Networking experiment aims to create a communications system for lunar landers that can handle connection drops – and it’s testing this by playing one of South Korea’s biggest cultural exports, the song Dynamite by K-pop icons BTS.
See NASA’s newest Earth observation satellite unfold in space
As seen as SpaceX launches NASA’s Lunar Flashlight mission
The Orion spacecraft is looking good for its mission to the moon
Here’s how to watch NASA’s first spacewalk in eight months
The Lucy spacecraft captures a stunning image of Earth during the flyby
This article was previously published on Source link