TechNASA captures mysterious moon object resembling Oumuamua

NASA captures mysterious moon object resembling Oumuamua

The LRO probe immortalized another "visitor" near the Moon.
The LRO probe immortalized another "visitor" near the Moon.
Images source: © Goddard, NASA, Arizona State University
6:40 AM EDT, April 11, 2024

The NASA-owned Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently captured an image of a "mysterious" object moving near the Moon at over 2 miles per second. Accomplishing this feat was challenging, yet the LRO succeeded flawlessly. This photograph enabled NASA to identify the elongated object, which bears a resemblance to Oumuamua.

For 15 years, the LRO has been orbiting the Moon. Its mission involves mapping the lunar surface, identifying potential landing sites, and seeking out objects of interest. Last month, such an object was photographed. NASA revealed that between March 4 and 5, 2024, the LRO and Danuri, a Moon orbiter from the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, which travels in parallel orbits, passed each other near the Moon.

NASA takes a closer look at the "mysterious" object

"Due to the fast relative velocities between the two spacecraft (about 7,200 miles, or 11,500 kilometres, per hour), the LRO operations team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, needed exquisite timing in pointing LROC to the right place at the right time to catch a glimpse of Danuri, the Republic of Korea’s first spacecraft at the Moon," NASA stated in a press release.

An image of Danuri was captured using a narrow-angle camera, part of the LROC camera system on the orbiter. This marks South Korea's first lunar orbiter, launched in 2022. It is equipped with scientific instruments and technology demonstrators. Danuri aims to investigate lunar resources such as helium-3, silicon, and aluminium and will also map the lunar surface to assist in selecting optimal landing sites for future missions.

NASA noted that due to the high velocities of the LRO and Danuri when the photo was taken, Danuri appears ten times larger and blurred. This could excite the imaginations of those fascinated by space. In the NASA-released photo, Danuri resembles Oumuamua, an unidentified, elongated object that traversed our Solar System in 2017. The unusual appearance of this interstellar object caused quite a stir, including speculation about extraterrestrial spacecraft from some quarters.

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