South Korean Probe’s NASA Moon Camera Illuminates Dark Lunar Crater

Trevor Monteiro
Mar 23, 2023
Updated • Mar 23, 2023

A recently released image showed a Marvin crater lit by NASA’s ShadowCam. This image shows NASA’s lunar camera is now brightening the darker areas of the moon. This new photo was taken on February 28th by ShadowCam. It shows a portion of the Marvin crater just 16 miles from the south pole of the moon. The portion was 2.85 miles in diameter.

What is ShadowCam?

ShadowCam is sensitive and can detect reflected light. The areas that receive natural sunlight will look saturated on ShadowCam, however, due to its sensitivity, it can reveal dimly lit regions that are permanently shadowed.

The released images show the lighting difference inside and outside the Marvin crater rim. As per the update from ShadowCam, these areas are illuminated by faint light scattered from nearby mountains.

ShadowCam has been operating onboard the Danuri spacecraft, which is the Korean Aerospace Research Institute’s spacecraft. Danuri entered the moon’s orbit late last year and it builds on the cameras on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The LRO has been functional since 2009 and is about 200 times more sensitive. 

In the past, ShadowCam has also revealed details of the Shackleton crater. The images collected by ShadowCam help scientists understand lunar evolution. The images also show water trapped in shadowed regions and even help with site selection for Artemis missions.


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