“If you don’t look at it carefully, you may not be able to see it,” Dr. Lee said.
Jean-Pierre Williams, a planetary scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and another Danuri mission co-scientist hope to produce detailed maps of crater temperature by combining ShadowCam images with data collected by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
NASA’s orbiter, which has been studying the moon since 2009, carries an instrument that records lunar surface temperatures. But these measurements are blurred over a fairly large area, about 900 feet wide. ShadowCam has a resolution of approximately 5 feet per pixel. Thus, ShadowCam images used with computer models may make it possible to derive differences in surface temperatures.
“Using this data we can determine local and seasonal temperatures,” Dr. Williams said. This, in turn, could help scientists understand the stability of water ice and carbon dioxide in the crater.
Researchers will have to wait several months for the science to begin. The spacecraft is taking a long, energy-efficient route to the moon. It first heads toward the sun, then wraps around it to be captured in a lunar orbit on December 16. This “ballistic trajectory” takes longer but does not require launching a large engine to slow the spacecraft when it reaches the moon.
South Korea has Extensive military missile programIt has placed several communications and Earth observation satellites in low Earth orbit since it was first launched in 1992. It is expanding local rocket launch capabilities so that future missions do not need to rely on SpaceX, or other countries, to go into space. In June, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute succeeded in putting several satellites into orbit with Nouri’s second tripIts local missile.
“We will do challenging projects such as moon landings and asteroid exploration,” Mr. Kwon said.
Jin Yoo Young Contributed to reporting from Seoul.
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