The Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO), officially Danuri, reached the Moon’s orbit in December 2022. It has returned its very first images of our planet and its natural satellite, and Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) recently published them for the world to see.
While they show the same planet, the photos are nothing like the famous Blue Marble. They’re black and white, showing our planet in a different, more mysterious light. It even looks a bit eerie!
The photos were taken in late December 2022 using the high-resolution camera (LUTI) mounted on Danuri, and they show lunar craters and the Earth. Danuri also sent Earth and Moon photos taken on 1 January 2023, the first day of the new year.
KARI produced Danuri in 2014 in collaboration with NASA, and it was named by combining the Korean words for “Moon” (dal) and “enjoy” (nuri). The main objectives of the mission are “enhancing the South Korean technological capabilities in the ground and in outer space,” and increasing “both the national brand value and national pride.” But other than showing off, the specific technological and scientific objectives are developing new technologies for lunar exploration, producing a topographic map of the Moon to help select future landing sites, and surveying lunar resources such as water ice, uranium, helium-3, silicon, and aluminum.
“Danuri is currently conducting work such as checking the performance of payloads and adjusting errors,” KARI writes, “and is scheduled to carry out full-scale science and technology missions from February.”
[via Digital Trends]
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