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South Korea launched Scouting Moon, with more missions to come

South Korea launched Scouting Moon, with more missions to come

“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 Danury mission scientist hope to produce detailed temperature maps of the craters 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 in diameter. ShadowCam has a resolution of approximately 5 feet per pixel. Thus, ShadowCam images used with computer models can help detect changes in surface temperature.

“Using this data, we can determine local and seasonal temperatures,” Dr. Williams said. This, in turn, could help scientists understand the stability of water and frozen 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 orbits around it to be captured in lunar orbit on December 16. This “ballistic trajectory” takes longer but does not require large engines to slow the spacecraft as it reaches the moon.

South Korea has Extensive military missile programand has placed several communications and Earth observation satellites in low Earth orbit since they were first launched in 1992. It has expanded its domestic 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 successfully put several satellites into orbit Nouri’s second tripHomemade missile.

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“We will undertake ambitious projects such as moon landing and asteroid exploration,” Kwon said.

Jin Yoo Young Contributed to reporting from Seoul.