KPLO, South Korea’s first lunar probe

On October 5, 2021, today we will take you to get to know KPLO craft (Korean Pathfinder Lunar orbiter) probe “Moon” the first ship of “South Korea” who are leaving next year

KPLO craft (Korean Pathfinder Lunar orbiter) will be the first mission to “Moon” South Korea’s mission is scheduled to land on the moon in 2022 and is the first step for South Korea to get involved in international planetary exploration. “lunar probe” This is South Korea’s first collaboration with the US NASA.

The KPLO spacecraft will be equipped with most of the scientific equipment manufactured in South Korea. with NASA cameras and will transmit image data to the lunar surface to astronomers to support the planning of future lunar exploration missions (including sending astronauts to explore the polar regions of the moon)

The KPLO spacecraft will be launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX, a private space technology company in the United States. Sometime around August 2022, the “moon” is scheduled for around mid-December 2022 (if the rocket launch is not postponed).

Once KPLO reaches the moon, it will orbit the moon in a circular orbit with an altitude of about 100 km above the lunar surface and use six scientific instruments to explore the moon for at least a year.

For the first 4 devices on KPLO craft It is an imaging and electromagnetic wave measuring device produced in South Korea together with

1st device : High resolution lunar surface camera at 2.5 m/pixel.

2nd device : Wide-angle camera for analyzing materials on the lunar surface. from the reflectance and scattering of sunlight on the surface

3rd device : Spectrum meter in the gamma range It serves to observe the high energy gamma rays emitted by the moon. The energy levels of these gamma rays depend on the element that is the source of the radiation. Scientists can then use this correlation data to study material types on the lunar surface.

4th device : polarizer camera (Polarimetric) is used to measure light with various electromagnetic oscillation planes. It can measure the types of materials on the surface reflecting sunlight. This allows scientists to study the mineral composition of the lunar surface.

Together, analyzing the data from these devices will help scientists understand the composition of the lunar surface. and the natural features of various volcanic rock deposits and the evolution of the lunar landscape over 4 billion years.

while the fifth device is a magnetic field detector. It’s the science device of the last KPLO spacecraft produced in South Korea. Although the moon has lost its magnetic field that covers the entire star. But there is still a weak magnetic field that appears patchy in some areas. The magnetic field detectors on board will study the mother field. To analyze how much these magnetic fields would reduce the intensity of space radiation conditions. And the magnetic field left on the moon could be used to study the natural conditions of the moon in the past.

The last device aboard the KPLO spacecraft was the ShadowCam, a highly responsive imaging camera produced by NASA in the United States that constantly photographs parts of the moon’s surface that fall in the shadows. To be used as important information about the topography and distribution of water on the lunar surface. including planning to explore the lunar polar regions in the future

on a mission KLPO NASA also has three other collaborations with South Korea in addition to the production of ShadowCam cameras for the KPLO spacecraft:

  • 9 NASA scientists recruited to join the team of scientists on the spacecraft’s mission. in March 2021 to help support science education.
  • Joint testing of the Internet in interplanetary space (Interplanetary internet) with the KPLO, which may help promote advances in communication technology.
  • NASA Technical Support in mission design deep space communications and navigation technology

In May 2021, South Korea agreed to sign. The “Artemis Accords,” a principle of cooperation between nations participating in NASA’s 21st century lunar exploration plan, will result in the sharing of scientific data from lunar observations. Monday between the US and South Korea is going to be easier. and paves the way for the two countries to collaborate on future space programs.

The KPLO mission marks the first phase of the project. explore the moon In the second phase, South Korea plans to send other ships, including a lunar orbiter, a lander and a rover.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has announced that South Korea will launch a lunar lander on a domestically developed and manufactured rocket by 2030.

Thank you for information from: Phisit Nithiyanan, Astronomical Information Officer, Ph.D. / NARIT, National Astronomical Research Institute

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