‘Exquisite timing’: NASA captures image of surfboard-shaped Danuri orbiting moon

The Danuri as seen above the surface of the moon.

NASA had what it is calling “exquisite timing” and was able to capture a surfboard-shaped object orbiting the moon.

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The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been watching the moon for NASA for 15 years but just recently got an image of something that looked like it was out of a Marvel comic last month.

It wasn’t an alien spacecraft, however. Instead, it was the Danuri lunar orbiter launched by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, NASA said.

The Korean orbiter and the LRO were “in nearly parallel orbits” going in opposite directions on March 5 and 6.

The two spacecraft fly at about 72,000 MPH so the operations team of the LRO, based at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, “needed exquisite timing” to get its device pointed at “the right place at the right time” to capture an image of the Danuri, which has been circling the moon since December 2022.

The camera had an extremely short exposure — 0.338 milliseconds — to snap the photo.

Still, both spacecraft were moving so fast that the “Danuri was smeared by a factor greater than 10x in the down track direction,” the team said.

Some of the images had to be rotated and had their aspect corrected to get a good photo, the team said.

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