As early as 2025, NASA hopes to send humans to the lunar south pole in search of ice that may be hiding there. The frozen water there would be a valuable resource for human explorers if it could be unearthed and gathered.
In theory, H2O may be refined into O2, usable water, and useful energy, according to scientists. Submerged areas in the north and south poles of the moon never see the light of day.
However, there is an evident difficulty in examining these continuously shadowed craters from space: how to map the intricacies of the landscape in darkness.
Danuri, a Korean spacecraft that was launched in the summer of 2018, has been in lunar orbit since December 2022. The orbiter is equipped with a camera optimised for low-light photography.
ShadowCam is actively searching for ice, snapping images that will be used by mission planners to identify potentially ice-rich regions. Scientists plan to monitor and observe changes in lunar craters throughout the seasons.
In 2017, Jason Crusan, NASA's former director of advanced exploration systems, stated, "Future trips in deep space will be safer and more cheap if we have the capacity to extract lunar resources."
Eventually, NASA will be able to use the images to zero down on a specific drilling location. The Artemis III mission will be the first to transport humans to the lunar surface in half a century, and in August 2022.
The first woman and person of colour to walk on the moon, along with the other astronauts, would spend almost a week on the moon collecting samples to be analysed back on Earth.
Danuri has began taking practise pictures on the moon in order to calibrate its equipment. Shackleton Crater, a dimple on the moon, was seen on camera by the spacecraft only lately.
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter camera, Shadowcam was shown to have superior night vision. In the image comparison up top, you can see how the new camera on the right is able to record details from inside the crater.
According to a recent update on the project by Arizona State University, the crater is too tiny to maintain solid ice throughout the summer, when temperatures exceed -261 degrees Fahrenheit.
The location was deemed "not the most probable host for frost or ice at the surface" in the message board's analysis. Maybe there's ice or frost hiding out in the shaded parts of this crater, where the temperature is lower.