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NASA’s ShadowCam launches aboard Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter

NASA's shadowCam launches aboard Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter
The ShadowCam instrument will acquire images of shadowed parts of the moon utilizing a high-resolution camera, telescope, and highly sensitive sensors. Credits: Arizona State University / Malin Space Science Systems

NASA’s ShadowCam is going to the Moon aboard Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)’s Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) mission. KPLO, also referred to as Danuri, launched at 7: 08 p.m. EDT on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Launch Complex 40 on the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on August 4.

Produced by Arizona State University and Malin Space Science Systems, ShadowCam is among five instruments up to speed KARI’s KPLO spacecraft.

A hypersensitive optical camera, ShadowCam, will collect images of permanently shadowed regions close to the Moon’s poles. This can allow ShadowCam to map the reflectance of the regions to find proof ice deposits, observe seasonal changes, and gauge the terrain in the craters. The ShadowCam instrument was designed predicated on previous imagers like those on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, nonetheless it is several hundred times more light-sensitive to permit for capturing details within the permanently shadowed regions.

The gathered from ShadowCam and another KPLO instruments will support future lunar exploration efforts, including Artemis. The high-resolution imagery captured in extremely low-light conditions may help inform landing site selection and exploration planning future Artemis missions by giving insight into terrain and , and the distribution and accessibility of resources like water ice which are ideal for long-duration stays. The info from ShadowCam and the unprecedented views in to the permanently shadowed regions may possibly also help scientists find out more about the way the Moon formed and evolved and about our solar system.

Along with ShadowCam, NASA can be contributing communications and navigation support to KPLO and science support to the KPLO team via nine NASA-funded scientists. The Republic of Korea (ROK) signed the Artemis Accords this past year and continues to collaborate with NASA on lunar exploration efforts.

In ROK, the orbiter is called “Danuri” following a public naming contest led to a name combining the Korean words for “Moon” (dal) and “enjoy” (nuri).

On the next 4.5 months, KPLO use a fuel-saving Korean Ballistic Trajectory 62-mile (100 km) lunar polar orbit, where upon arrival, it’ll then begin operations on a well planned 11-month mission.

Citation: NASA’s ShadowCam launches aboard Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (2022, August 5) retrieved 5 August 2022 from

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