South Korean Lunar Orbiter captures unreal images of Earth
His position in low lunar orbit, South Korea’s first lunar mission captured a unique glimpse of Earth rising from behind the crater surface of our natural satellite.
The Korean Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO)also known as Danuri, beamed back beautiful black and white images of Earth captured by its high resolution camera. The two photos were taken on December 24 and 28 and released by the Korean Aerospace Research Institute on Monday.
The images show a stately Earth in the distance, while the moon’s dusty surface appears in the foreground. From our perspective on Earth, we often see the moon rise above the surface of our planet. But the images Danuri captured from lunar orbit provide a counterintuitive view of our home planet shimmering beyond the lunar surface.
Danuri captured the first image when it was 77 miles (124 kilometers) above the lunar surface and second when it was about 344 kilometers above the surface.
Danuri launched on Aug. 5 aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, South Korea’s first low space mission. On Dec. 17, the spacecraft completed its first moon orbit insertion maneuver and entered lunar orbit.
The 1,100-pound (500-kilogram) probe is equipped with four science instruments built locally, as well as a NASA camera to capture images of the lunar surface. From its low orbit, Danuri will explore the moon’s shadowed regions, which could contain water ice.
With the launch of Danuri, South Korea hopes to advance its exploration of the moon. as the orbiter is designed to search out potential landing sites for future missions to the moon. South Korea does too launch a lander and a rover, in addition to another orbiter, for the second phase of the mission.
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