Korean probe will map moon metals and test space internet


Technological Innovation Website Editor – 08/05/2022

Korean probe will map moon metals and test space internet

The Danuri spacecraft orbit the Moon at an altitude of 100 km.
[Imagem: KARI]

Danuri moon probe

South Korea’s first lunar mission, the Danuri orbiter, which means “Enjoy the Moon” in Korean, launched on Thursday.

Your official name KPLO (Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter).

Administered by the country’s space agency, KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute), the space probe must orbit the Moon for at least 1 year, observing the satellite with a series of South Korean instruments and an instrument built by NASA.

Among the mission’s objectives are researching the environment, topography and lunar landforms, identifying possible landing sites for future missions, verifying the occurrence of metals and demonstrating the beginnings of a “spatial internet”.

The probe has a cubic shape, with a total mass of 550 kg, with two wings formed by solar panels. The energy (760 W at 28 V) is directed to rechargeable batteries, which power the instruments.

A satellite dish mounted on the tip of a rod provides communications via S-band (telemetry and command) and X-band (scientific data transmission).

The five scientific instruments, with a payload of about 40 kg, are:

  • LUTI – Lunar Terrain Imager
  • PolCam – Wide-angle polarimetric camera
  • KMAG – Magnetometer
  • KGRS – Gamma ray spectrometer
  • ShadowCam – High-sensitivity camera developed by NASA for the LRO mission, designed to capture images of the heavily shadowed areas of the lunar poles.
Korean probe will map moon metals and test space internet

Proposed scheme for a spatial internet.
[Imagem: NASA]

Space internet and metals

The sixth instrument, actually considered an experiment, called DTN, an acronym for “Interrupt Tolerant Network”, which intends to demonstrate new asynchronous data transmission capabilities, laying the foundations for something similar to a spatial internet, which can be used by various ships and ground stations.

Unlike the terrestrial internet, a space internet needs to deal with large delays, due to the distances involved in transmissions, and with the drop in connections, as when a space probe is hidden on the other side of a moon or planet, for example.

The Danuri probe should only reach the Moon in December, due to the choice of a route to minimize fuel consumption. But she will already be doing science during the trip, with the KGRS instrument trying to detect X-ray emissions produced by the collapse of distant stars, and the KMAG instrument mapping the magnetic field between the Earth and the Moon.

Upon arrival, orbiting at an altitude of 100 km, the probe should then produce maps of the distribution of elements of technological interest present in the lunar soil, including iron, titanium, uranium and trium.

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