Striking images of the Earth and the Moon thanks to a South Korean probe

The images, taken between December 24 and January 1, were taken less than 120 kilometers from the lunar surface. South Korea’s first lunar probe, Danuri, has transmitted stunning black-and-white photographs of the lunar surface and Earth, the South Korean space center announced on Tuesday.

Danuri (a contraction of Dalwhich means Moon, and Nuri which means enjoy) took off in August from the United States aboard a SpaceX rocket and entered lunar orbit in December after an extended flight to save fuel. These photos and videos will be “used to select sites likely to host a moon landing in 2032,” the space center added.

Full orbit every two hours

Danuri completes a full orbit around 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 make measurements of magnetic force and gamma rays. It will also test “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.

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