Receive high-resolution images of permanently shadowed areas that never receive direct sunlight, in support of science and exploration planning for Artemis and robotic missions.
Ever since Danuri entered lunar orbit last December, ShadowCam has been regularly capturing images of lunar regions.
One of the first ShadowCam images from lunar orbit, rendered in greater detail than ever before, is the permanently shadowed wall and floor of Shackleton Crater, which is located near the south pole.
The level of detail in this image is made possible by the ShadowCam’s ability to operate in very low light conditions: it is 200 times more sensitive than the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s narrow-angle camera.
Although Earth’s brightness is about ten times dimmer than the average available light in the region, which is permanently shadowed by sunlight reflected by lunar geological features, ShadowCam is still able to image the surface using Earth’s brightness. indicating the instrument’s ability to see the faintest areas of the South Pole. ,
Two types of secondary lighting allow the ShadowCam to capture images in areas that do not receive direct sunlight. The first is Earthshine, which illuminates the Moon’s surface away from the poles with sunlight reflected from Earth. The second is light that originates from sunlight reflecting off nearby geological features, such as mountains and crater walls at the poles, which rise high enough above the surface to reflect direct sunlight.
Another image, captured in the latter type of light, shows the rim of Marvin Crater, which is about 16 miles (26 kilometers) from the south pole.
The ShadowCam would not be able to take pictures of the Artemis astronauts walking on the surface of the Moon if they were exposed to direct sunlight because the bright light would saturate the images.
In another image, the shadow cast by the central peak of Aristarchus is from Earthshine which showed that the Earth was 35 degrees above the horizon at that time.
ShadowCam images show the lunar surface with a resolution never seen before.
Japanese mission seeking to investigate fails
The Japanese firm, which was trying to become the first private company to probe the Moon, acknowledged the mission’s failure, noting that the device probably crashed on Earth’s satellite.
“It has been determined that there is a high probability that the lander has made a hard landing on the lunar surface,” iSpace said in a statement.
Founder and CEO Takeshi Hakamada said, “Although we did not expect to land on the Moon this time, we believe that we have fully fulfilled the meaning of this mission by gaining a large amount of data and experience. ” “The important thing is to take this knowledge and learning to Mission 2 and beyond,” he said, confident that the next opportunity will be the one that achieves the desired success.