NASA has unveiled a mesmerizing mosaic image of the lunar South Pole, providing an unprecedented look at the Shackleton Crater. This striking visual was created through a collaboration between two lunar-orbiting cameras, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), and ShadowCam.
The LROC has been diligently capturing lunar surface imagery since 2009, while ShadowCam, an instrument on board a KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute) spacecraft called Danuri, joined the lunar mission in August 2022. What makes ShadowCam stand out is its impressive light sensitivity, which allows it to operate efficiently in the moon's dimly lit, permanently shadowed regions. This exceptional sensitivity makes it ideal for revealing details in areas not visible to LROC due to their perpetual darkness.
However, ShadowCam's extraordinary light sensitivity means it can't capture images in directly illuminated areas. To overcome this limitation, analysts have ingeniously combined images from both cameras to create an extensive visual map encompassing both the brightest and darkest lunar regions.
In this mosaic, you can observe the interior floor and walls of Shackleton Crater in remarkable detail, thanks to ShadowCam, while sunlit areas, like the crater's rim and flanks, are the result of LROC imagery.