NASA's Stunning New Moon Mosaic Reveals Lunar South Pole In Unprecedented Detail

The mosaic reveals unprecedented detail of the lunar South Pole region and highlights a scenic crater called the Shackleton Crater.

NASA's Stunning New Moon Mosaic Reveals Lunar South Pole In Unprecedented Detail

The mosaic was created with imagery acquired by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) and ShadowCam

Space agency NASA routinely captures stunning images of our universe, leaving space lovers mesmerized. On Tuesday, NASA shared a never-before-seen mosaic of the Moon, captured by two different cameras. As per NASA, the image reveals unprecedented detail of the lunar South Pole region and highlights a scenic crater called the Shackleton Crater. According to a CNET report, the crater portrayed in this mosaic might also be one of the Artemis III mission's landing locations in 2025.

Notably, this area has never been explored by humans and is of great interest to science and exploration because it is thought to contain ice deposits or other frozen volatiles.

NASA shared the image and captioned it as, ''Moonlight Sonata⁣. This new mosaic reveals the power of two Moon orbiting cameras, working together. It was created with imagery acquired by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) and ShadowCam, a NASA instrument aboard a Korea Aerospace Research Institute spacecraft called Danuri.⁣''

See the image here:

The LROC can capture detailed images of the lunar surface but has limited ability to photograph shadowed parts of the Moon that never receive direct sunlight. Meanwhile, ShadowCam is 200 times more light-sensitive than LROC and can operate successfully in these extremely low-light conditions, revealing features that are not visible to LROC.⁣

ShadowCam's light sensitivity, however, renders it unable to capture images of parts of the Moon that are directly illuminated, delivering saturated results. 

''With each camera optimized for specific lighting conditions near the lunar poles, analysts can combine images from both instruments to create a comprehensive visual map of the terrain and geologic features of both the brightest and darkest parts of the Moon,'' NASA added. 

The permanently shadowed areas in the mosaic, such as the interior floor and walls of Shackleton Crater, are visible in such detail because of the imagery from ShadowCam. In contrast, the sunlit areas in this mosaic, like the rim and flanks of the crater, are a product of imagery collected by LROC.

Last month, India's moon mission Chandrayaan-3 made a successful soft landing near the moon's South Pole, propelling India to the elite space club.

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