‘Nasa spacecraft snaps mysterious ‘surfboard’ orbiting Moon’ – Times of India


NEW DELHI: Nasa’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently captured intriguing images of a surfboard-shaped object near the moon, which turned out to be South Korea’s lunar orbiter, Danuri. This encounter between the two spacecraft occurred as they orbited the moon in nearly parallel paths, according to Nasa officials. The event took place over March 5 and 6, and due to the high speed difference between the LRO and Danuri — approximately 7,200 mph (11,500 km/h) — Danuri appeared elongated in the images, resembling a surfboard, a Live Science report said.
The unique photographic opportunity was seized by the LRO operations team at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.Despite the challenge posed by the LRO’s camera, which has a very short exposure time of about 0.338 milliseconds, the team managed to capture images of Danuri. This marks a significant achievement as Danuri is the first Korean spacecraft to enter lunar orbit, having done so in December 2022.
The stretching effect in the images, caused by the speed difference, made Danuri look “smeared to 10 times its size,” according to Nasa. However, Danuri is actually a box-shaped spacecraft equipped with solar panels on each side, not resembling a surfboard in reality.
Paul Byrne, an associate professor of planetary science at Washington University in St Louis, shared some of the images on social media, clarifying that Danuri’s appearance as a “weirdly thin load of pixels” was a result of the high speeds involved and the camera’s specifications. This incident has sparked comparisons to the Silver Surfer, a fictional character in the Marvel Universe, due to the object’s surfboard-like appearance in the photos.
What is the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s mission?
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is a Nasa mission dedicated to the exploration and study of the moon. Launched on June 18, 2009, the LRO’s primary mission is to map the lunar surface in high detail, collect vital data on the moon’s radiation environment, temperature, and resources, and gather evidence to support future human exploration. Specifically, the objectives of the LRO mission include:
Creating a comprehensive lunar topographic map: Utilizing its high-resolution cameras, LRO has been tasked with creating detailed maps of the moon’s surface to identify safe landing sites for future missions, discover resources, and study the moon’s terrain and environment in great detail.
Studying the moon’s radiation environment: The LRO measures the types and amounts of ionizing radiation on the lunar surface to understand the potential risks to human explorers and electronic equipment.
Identifying potential lunar resources: One of the key aspects of LRO’s mission is to search for water ice and other lunar resources that could be used by future astronauts for life support and fuel.
Investigating the moon’s thin atmosphere: The LRO explores the composition and behavior of the moon’s exosphere, a very thin atmosphere, to understand its dynamics and how it interacts with the lunar surface and solar radiation.
Understanding the moon’s thermal environment: The spacecraft measures the moon’s temperature at various times of the day to understand the thermal behavior of different lunar surfaces, which is crucial for the design of future lunar habitats and equipment.


window.TimesApps = window.TimesApps || {}; var TimesApps = window.TimesApps; TimesApps.toiPlusEvents = function(config) { var isConfigAvailable = "toiplus_site_settings" in f && "isFBCampaignActive" in f.toiplus_site_settings && "isGoogleCampaignActive" in f.toiplus_site_settings; var isPrimeUser = window.isPrime; if (isConfigAvailable && !isPrimeUser) { loadGtagEvents(f.toiplus_site_settings.isGoogleCampaignActive); loadFBEvents(f.toiplus_site_settings.isFBCampaignActive); loadSurvicateJs(f.toiplus_site_settings.allowedSurvicateSections); } else { var JarvisUrl=" window.getFromClient(JarvisUrl, function(config){ if (config) { loadGtagEvents(config?.isGoogleCampaignActive); loadFBEvents(config?.isFBCampaignActive); loadSurvicateJs(config?.allowedSurvicateSections); } }) } }; })( window, document, 'script', );


Source link

Back to top button