Saturday, September 30, 2023

NASA points its cameras at the south pole of the moon

Two cameras from space missions in lunar orbit have been combined by NASA to reveal unprecedented details of the Earth’s satellite’s south polar region.

This area has never been explored by humans and is of great interest to science and research because it is believed to contain deposits of ice or other frozen volatiles.

This mosaic was created using images taken by the LROC (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera), in operation since 2009, and by ShadowCam, a NASA instrument on board a KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute) spacecraft called Danuri. It was taken in Launched August 2022.

LROC can capture detailed images of the lunar surface, but has limited ability to photograph shadowed parts of the moon that are never exposed to direct sunlight, called permanently shadowed regions. ShadowCam is 200 times more light sensitive than LROC and can be used successfully even in these extremely low light conditions, revealing terrain features and details not visible to LROC. ShadowCam uses sunlight reflected from geological structures on the Moon or Earth to capture images in the shadows, NASA reports in a statement.

However, due to the ShadowCam’s sensitivity to light, it is not possible to capture images of parts of the Moon that are directly illuminated, resulting in saturated results. Because each camera is optimized for specific lighting conditions near the lunar poles, analysts can combine images from both instruments to create a complete visual map of the terrain and geological features of the brightest and darkest parts of the moon.

Permanently shadowed areas in this mosaic, such as the interior floor and walls of Shackleton Crater, are visible in great detail thanks to ShadowCam images. In contrast, the sunlit areas in this mosaic, such as the crater’s rim and flanks, are the product of images collected by LROC.

With ShadowCam, NASA can image permanently shadowed regions of the moon in more detail than before, giving scientists a much better view of the lunar south pole region.


Scientists believe that layers of ice deposits have existed on the moon for millions or billions of years, and the ability to study samples could improve our understanding of how the moon and our solar system evolved. Ice deposits could also serve as an important resource for exploration because they consist of hydrogen and oxygen, which can be used as fuel for rockets or life support systems.

A more complete map of the lunar south pole region is valuable for future NASA surface exploration efforts, such as the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) and Artemis missions, which will return humans to the lunar surface and provide a long-term foundation. Permanent presence on the moon.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
Latest news
Related news