SEOUL, Dec. 26 (Yonhap) — The Ministry of Science on Tuesday released a comprehensive photographic map of the moon created by Danuri, South Korea’s unmanned lunar orbiter, to mark the first anniversary of its mission.
This map, actually a mosaic of photos taken with a polarization camera over the past 250 days, includes both the visible and invisible sides of the moon, according to the ministry. Danuri, also known as the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, orbits Earth’s permanent natural satellite at an altitude of about 100 km.
Mosaic map of the Moon created from images from South Korea’s Danuri lunar orbiter. (Image provided by the Ministry of Science. Resale and archiving prohibited)
In addition, the orbiter sent images of Tycho, a large lunar impact crater in the southern lunar highlands, as well as data based on magnetic forces and gamma rays collected during this mission. Danuri entered selenocentric orbit on December 27 last year before beginning operations on February 4 after a series of tests that lasted about a month.
For South Korea’s first space mission beyond Earth orbit, Danuri is equipped with six instruments to measure terrain, magnetic forces, gamma rays and other features of the lunar surface. One of his tasks was also to identify potential lunar landing sites for the country’s future lunar expeditions.
Danuri’s mission was originally scheduled to end at the end of this year, but thanks to energy-saving processes, the mission was extended by two years. It will remain in operation until December 2025 to continue providing valuable data for future lunar exploration attempts, the ministry said.
Tycho crater photographed by South Korea’s lunar orbiter Danuri. (Image provided by the Ministry of Science. Resale and archiving prohibited)