The moon was just a lunar neighbor

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NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) snapped a perfectly timed photo as it crossed paths with another spacecraft orbiting the moon.
Danuri, the Republic of Korea’s first moon-explorer, has been in lunar orbit since December 2022.
At the time the photos were taken, Danuri was orbiting below the LRO, which was flying 50 miles (80 kilometers) above the moon’s surface.
Related: Amazing moon photos from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Relative velocities between the two spacecraft were about 7,200 miles per hour (11,500 kilometers per hour), NASA officials said, making it challenging for the LRO’s narrow angle camera to hone in on Danuri.
NASA’s LRO had three opportunities to snap photos of Danuri during close flybys.
For the first snapshot, LRO was 3 miles (5 kilometers) above Danuri and oriented down 43 degrees from its typical position looking down at the lunar surface.
In capturing the orbiter with its new positioning, Danuri appeared sort like a disk-shaped streak across the middle of the image.
For the second image, LRO was closer to Danuri, about 2.5 miles (4 km), and oriented 25 degrees toward it.


When it came into contact with another spacecraft orbiting the moon, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) captured the ideal moment snapshot.

According to a NASA statement, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which has been in lunar orbit for 15 years, took multiple pictures of the Danuri lunar orbiter of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute during three orbits between March 5 and March 6. The two spacecraft were moving in nearly parallel orbits as they zoomed past each other in opposite directions.

Since December 2022, Republic of Korea’s first moon explorer, Danuri, has been in lunar orbit. Danuri was orbiting below the LRO, which was traveling 50 miles (80 kilometers) above the moon’s surface, when the pictures were taken.

Related: NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter produces breathtaking images of the moon.

NASA officials stated that the two spacecraft’s relative velocities were approximately 7,200 miles per hour (11,500 kilometers per hour), which made it difficult for Danuri to be seen by the LRO’s narrow angle camera. Danuri appeared smeared across the image and stretched ten times its size as it quickly moved in the opposite direction of the LRO, with a camera exposure time of approximately 0.338 milliseconds on the LRO.

In order to get a glimpse of Danuri, NASA officials said in a statement that “the LRO operations team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, needed exquisite timing.”.

There were three chances for NASA’s LRO to take pictures of Danuri during close flybys. In contrast to its usual orientation of facing down 43 degrees toward the lunar surface, LRO was 3 miles (5 km) above Danuri when it took the first snapshot. Danuri appeared as a sort of disk-shaped streak across the center of the image when the orbiter was captured with its new position.

In the second image, LRO was positioned 25 degrees toward Danuri and was closer to the location—roughly 2 points 5 miles or 4 km away. A final look at Danuri, which was flying five miles (8 km) below, was then obtained by LRO reorienting itself by sixty degrees for the final flyby.

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