South Korea launches Moon Scouts, more missions will follow

“If you don’t look at it carefully, you might not be able to see it,” said Dr. Lee.

Jean-Pierre Williams, a planetary scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and another co-scientist on the Danuri mission hope to create detailed maps of the crater’s temperature by combining ShadowCam imagery with the data collected by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter der NASA.

NASA’s orbiter, which has been studying the moon since 2009, carries an instrument that records the moon’s surface temperatures. But those measurements are blurry over a fairly large area, about 900 feet wide. ShadowCam has a resolution of approximately 5 feet per pixel. Therefore, ShadowCam images used with computer models can allow differences in surface temperatures to be inferred.

“Using this data, we can determine local and seasonal temperatures,” said Dr. Williams. This, in turn, could help scientists understand the stability of water ice and carbon dioxide in the crater.

Researchers have to wait several months for the science to begin. The spacecraft takes a long, energy-efficient route to the moon. It first heads for and then orbits the Sun to reach it on December 16 in lunar orbit. This “ballistic trajectory” takes longer but doesn’t require launching a large engine to slow the spacecraft when it reaches the moon.

South Korea has Extensive military missile programIt has launched several communications and Earth observation satellites into low Earth orbit since it was first launched in 1992. It expands local rocket launch capabilities so future missions don’t depend on SpaceX or other countries to go into space. In June, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute managed to put several satellites into orbit Nouri’s second journeyHis local rocket.

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“We will undertake challenging projects such as moon landings and asteroid exploration,” Mr. Kwon said.

Jin Yoo Jung Contribution to reporting from Seoul.

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