The bigger picture: Danuri lunar orbiter
Image credit: Cover Images
A South Korean spacecraft has captured stunning new images of the lunar surface and Planet Earth.
A South Korean spacecraft has captured stunning new images of the lunar surface and Planet Earth. Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, also known as Danuri, is South Korea’s first ever spacecraft to orbit the Moon. Launched on a SpaceX rocket from the US in August 2022, it began travelling towards the Moon and was inserted into lunar orbit late in December.
The precise detail of the camera on board the lunar orbiter means it is possible to see craters on the lunar surface from close-up, as well as the vast size of Earth in the background. The images are a test of the lunar orbiter, which itself is a major test of South Korea’s plans to explore space.
Such images of the Moon will allow scientists to find a landing location for future exploration of the Moon’s surface by a follow-up mission that South Korea hopes will include a lunar lander.
The spacecraft will also be testing a range of other technologies, including a ‘space internet’ system that allows for broadcast between different planets. Danuri has been beaming back images using that system, in the hope that it proves reliable enough for future missions. It features a range of different science instruments, both for taking images of the Moon as well as examining it in other ways, such as its magnetic field.
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