Nine American scientists will join the launch of South Korea’s first spacecraft to orbit the moon next year.
Korea’s Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) slated to launch at SpaceX Rocket Falcon 9 in August 2022 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spacecraft will enter orbit Moon for about a year, presenting South Korea’s first space mission to fly out of Earth’s orbit, according to NASA statement…
On Tuesday (March 30), NASA announced that it has selected nine American scientists to participate in the KPLO Scientists Program. New members will work with the spacecraft’s five scientific instruments that measure the lunar surface from orbit to learn more about the environment and resources of the moon and identify potential landing sites for future missions.
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“The KPLO Scientist Program is an example of how international collaboration can leverage the talents of two space agencies to achieve greater success in science and research than individual missions,” said Sang-Ryul Lee, project manager for KPLO. “It is wonderful that Korea Institute of Aerospace Research (KARI) NASA’s Lunar Mission is a partner in space exploration – we are excited to see the new knowledge and opportunities that will emerge from the KPLO mission, as well as from future KARI-NASA collaborations. ”
The nine scientists selected by NASA include William Farrand, Caleb Fassett, Ian Garrick-Bethell, Rachel Klima, Mikhail Kreslavsky, Shuai Li, Gorden Vidin, Jean-Pierre Williams and Naoyuki Yamashita, who are affiliated with a number of academic and research institutions. New members will join the KPLO Science Group later this year and will receive funding for three years, according to NASA.
“It is important that the participating scientists are fully integrated into the existing KARI and NASA teams well before the mission is to be launched,” said Shoshana Vader, KPLO Program Manager for NASA’s Planetary Science Division, in a statement. “This means they will have ample time to collaborate with their KARI colleagues during the pre-mission planning phase, which will help ensure that they get the most out of their projects and the mission as a whole.”
KPLO is a joint mission between KARI and NASA. Korea will manage the production and operation of the orbiter, while NASA will support the mission by developing one of the scientific payloads, as well as helping with communication and navigation for the spacecraft. the agreement was signed in 2016…
The orbiter’s scientific instruments include three cameras, a magnetometer and a gamma spectrometer. NASA will provide one of the cameras called ShadowCamwhich will be used to map reflectivity within permanently shaded areas at the poles of the Moon to look for evidence of frost or ice deposits on the Moon’s surface. ShadowCam, based on a narrow-angle camera from NASA’s lunar reconnaissance orbiter, will capture high-resolution optical images.
In addition to investigating the physical characteristics of the lunar surface, the KPLO mission aims to expand South Korea’s technological capabilities in space exploration and develop instruments for deep space exploration in future missions. The data collected during this mission will also assist in planning NASA Artemis Program, according to the statement.
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