February 5, 2023

A special camera photographs the bottom of the moon’s crater, where the sun does not rise

Some regions of the Moon never receive sunlight, leaving it permanently in darkness. And there may be great treasures there, such as reserves of frozen water, necessary for a future human base on our satellite.

But this environment makes it difficult to register images for search. Until now.

ShadowCam funded by NASA Mounted on the South Korean probe Danuri, it was able to photograph a crater from the inside in unprecedented detail.

  • crater Shackleton is located in the lunar south pole region and does not receive direct sunlight, due to the small tilt of the moon’s axis (only 1.5 degrees).
  • The site was photographed by a special camera that is highly sensitive to light.
  • The goal is to record areas of the moon that do not receive sunlight and to look for evidence of ice deposits.

The US space agency said shadow camera It will be an important tool “to look for evidence of ice deposition, to monitor seasonal changes and to measure topography within craters,” and it may also help select future sites for moon landings.

Geologist Mark Robinson, from Arizona State University (USA), explained the picture. The upper part, which is lighter, shows the end of a steep wall; The lower part shows the bottom of the crater.

The image shows the bottom of Shackleton crater, where sunlight does not reach

Image: NASA/CARE/Arizona State University

“the shadow camera It detects the inside of the crater, but not the rim of the crater, because the detector is so sensitive that it saturates whenever it sees terrain directly illuminated by sunlight.”

The strange thin line that runs from the top is actually a trail left by a boulder about five meters in diameter, which rolled along the wall of the crater until it stopped at the bottom.

Image from Shackleton Crater on the Moon - NASA/Cary/ASU NASA/Cary/ASU

arrow points where the stone rolled; Scale below gives size reference

Image: NASA/CARE/Arizona State University

The dark-imaging camera operates aboard Danuri, also called the Korean Pathfinder Orbiter (KPLO). It’s a satellite from South Korea, which reached lunar orbit in December and has already sent back great pictures of the lunar surface, with Earth in the background.

It is jointly developed by the University of Arizona state and the Malin Void Sciences systemsFunded by NASA. the shadow camera He intends to image all areas of the moon that do not receive sunlight with a resolution greater than 2 meters per pixel.

Earth image taken from the Danuri - KARI - KARI satellite

Image of Earth taken by the Danuri probe, with the moon’s rough surface in the foreground

Photo: Carey