South Korea’s first lunar probe, Danuri, has transmitted stunning black-and-white photographs of the moon’s surface and Earth, the South Korean Space Center said on Tuesday.
Danuri — a contraction of “dal,” meaning moon, and “nuri,” meaning enjoy, launched from the United States aboard a SpaceX rocket in August and entered lunar orbit in December after an extended flight to conserve fuel .
These images, taken between Dec. 24 and Jan. 1, were taken less than 120 kilometers from the lunar surface, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) explained in a news release.
These photos and videos will be “used to select locations where a moon landing is likely to occur in 2032,” he added.
Danuri completely orbits the moon every two hours, the space center said.
The orbiter will begin its science mission next month, during which it will map and analyze the lunar surface and take magnetic and gamma-ray measurements.
It will also test the “space internet”, an experimental technology, by transmitting photos and videos to Earth.
President Yoon Suk-yeol hailed Danuri’s exploits in December, calling it a “historic moment” in the history of South Korea’s space program.
South Korea has outlined ambitious plans for space, including landing a spacecraft on the moon by 2032 and sending a lander to Mars by 2045.