Far from home

Look: 6 haunting images chronicle South Korea's history-making lunar mission

Danuri is South Korea’s first spacecraft to reach lunar orbit.

Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)

Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)

Last year, South Korea made history.

The country’s first lunar mission, the Korean Lunar Pathfinder Orbiter (KLPO), successfully launched in August 2022.

And in December, the spacecraft hit a big milestone: reaching lunar orbit.

Nicknamed Danuri, the spacecraft will orbit the Moon for about a year.

NASA via Giphy

Ministry of Science and ICT via Wikimedia Commons

Danuri’s main objectives are to study the Moon’s surface, test out new technologies, and map out potential landing sites for a future Korean lunar mission.

On its way to the Moon, the orbiter also sent back several haunting, black-and-white images of Earth and its closest natural satellite.

Shutterstock

Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)

The most recent photos, released January 3 by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), show Danuri’s very first views from lunar orbit.

Here are 6 ethereal snapshots from Danuri’s journey:

Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)

6. As it drifted farther from home, the orbiter snapped this image of Earth on August 26.

Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)

5. A similar portrait of the far side of the Moon was taken on the same day.

Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)

4. In November, KARI released this sequence of images after Danuri watched the Moon cycle through its orbit.

Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)

3. A panorama of the Moon and Earth, so close yet so far apart, released in November.

Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)

Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)

2. After reaching lunar orbit in mid-December, Danuri sent back this image of Earth peeking over the Moon’s surface on Christmas Eve.

1. A dark shadow covers Earth from this angle, captured a few days later.

Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)