The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) has released a set of black-and-white images of the Earth and moon that rival the work of legendary nature photographer Ansel Adams. The Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter – also known as KPLO or Danuri (moon enjoy) – captured the soon-to-be-iconic pictures during an approach to the moon, and later as it orbited 100 km (62 miles) above the lunar surface.
South Korea launched Danuri on August 5, 2022, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster. The probe entered lunar orbit on December 26, 2022. This month (January 2023), it’s due to begin studying the moon for a mission that should last at least a year.
According to KARI’s highly-detailed mission summary, the probe’s set of six instruments and cameras will study the makeup of the moon, as well as provide high-definition imagery of permanently shadowed areas near the moon’s poles.
The set of eight images from Danuri includes two shots of Earth seen over the darkened lunar limb, a study of the moon transiting the Earth as seen from deep space, two portraits of the illuminated far side of the moon, another two portraits of Earth in full illumination, and a deep-space portrait of Earth and its natural satellite.
The mission is just starting in January 2023. Let’s see what else it brings!
Bottom line: A lunar probe captured iconic black-and-white images of Earth and the moon.
Award-winning reporter and editor Dave Adalian's love affair with the cosmos began during a long-ago summer school trip to the storied and venerable Lick Observatory atop California's Mount Hamilton, east of San Jose in the foggy Diablos Mountain Range and far above Monterey Bay at the edge of the endless blue Pacific Ocean. That field trip goes on today, as Dave still pursues his nocturnal adventures, perched in the darkness at his telescope's eyepiece or chasing wandering stars through the fields of night with the unaided eye.
A lifelong resident of California's Tulare County - an agricultural paradise where the Great San Joaquin Valley meets the Sierra Nevada in endless miles of grass-covered foothills - Dave grew up in a wilderness larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined, one choked with the greatest diversity of flora and fauna in the US, one which passes its nights beneath pitch black skies rising over the some of highest mountain peaks and greatest roadless areas on the North American continent.
Dave studied English, American literature and mass communications at the College of the Sequoias and the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has worked as a reporter and editor for a number of news publications on- and offline during a career spanning nearly 30 years so far. His fondest literary hope is to share his passion for astronomy and all things cosmic with anyone who wants to join in the adventure and explore the universe's past, present and future.
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