South Korea is on its way to the moon.
tea Korea Pathfinder Orbital Moon (KPLO) launched today (August 4th) above A SpaceX The Falcon 9 rocket, which launched South Korea’s first-ever deep space mission, and paved the way for more ambitious lunar efforts on the way.
KPLO, also known as Danuri, “will be the first step to ensure verification and verification [South Korea’s] space exploration capability,” officials from the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), which runs the mission, He said in a statement (Opens in a new tab).
Related: Every Mission to the Moon (Reference)
This first step will lead to an automated lunar landing by 2030, if all goes according to plan – a huge milestone for South Korea. “The exploration of the moon will enhance Korea’s space technologies, increase the value of Korea and stimulate pride [in] Korean[s]The statement added.
Falcon 9 ascended from a platform at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida today at 7:08 p.m. EDT (2308 GMT). The two rocket stages separated 2.5 minutes after launch and went their separate ways. The first stage for the precision landing aboard the SpaceX drone came “just read the instructions” nine minutes after takeoff. SpaceX said this was the sixth landing so far for the veteran supporter Job title (Opens in a new tab).
The second stage continued to carry KPLO into the sky, and the spacecraft eventually deployed to a lunar ballistic transfer orbit as planned 40 minutes after liftoff. But KPLO still has a long way to go; It will take a long, repetitive and extremely fuel-efficient way the moonand finally slipped into orbit around the moon in mid-December. This orbit would be circular and only 60 miles (100 kilometers) above the gray dust of the moon.
KPLO’s arrival on the moon will come about a month after NASA’s little one CAPSTONE probewhich launched in late June and takes a winding path similar to Earth’s nearest neighbor.
A variety of scientific works
The $180 million KPLO mission is primarily about demonstrating the technologies needed to reach and explore the moon, but Danuri (which are two Korean words for “moon” and “enjoy”) will also do meaningful scientific work from its orbital position.
The 1,495-pound (678-kilogram) spacecraft carries six science instruments, five of which are domestic and one, called ShadowCam, provided by NASA. This gear will collect a variety of data during a mission designed to last at least a year.
For example, Danuri has a magnetometer whose measurements can help scientists Better understand the residual magnetic field of the moon – In particular, murky spots where this field is abnormally strong.
Carey Institute officials said the images of Danuri will help mission planners discover good sites for South Korea’s future moon landing mission. And the ShadowCam – which is based on NASA’s onboard LROC camera system, but is more sensitive than it lunar reconnaissance vehicle – It will search for water ice in permanently shaded lunar craters.
It is believed that these pits harbor a lot of water icebut the true extent and accessibility of this key resource are not well understood.
NASA’s involvement in KPLO extends beyond ShadowCam. The US space agency also selected nine researchers to participate in the mission.
“It is great that the KASRI lunar mission has NASA as a partner in space exploration – we are excited to see the new knowledge and opportunities that will arise from the KPLO mission as well as from joint future activities between KARI and NASA,” said KPLO Project Director Sang-Ryool. Lee in last year’s statement (Opens in a new tab)shortly after the names of the nine participating scientists were announced.
KARI-NASA could end up collaborating on a large scale. NASA agency Artemis program It works to establish a permanent and sustainable human presence on and around the Moon by 2030, and is therefore keen on data on the availability of lunar resources – data that ShadowCam and other Danuri tools can provide.
South Korea is also a signatory to the Artemis Agreements, a set of principles designed to facilitate responsible exploration of the Moon. South Korea Signed the agreements in May 2021becoming the tenth country to do so. Eleven other countries have followed suit since then.
Mike Wall is the author of “Abroad (Opens in a new tab)Book (Great Grand Publishing House, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the search for extraterrestrials. Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab) We are gold FB (Opens in a new tab).
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