South Korea's lunar exploration program has kicked it up a notch with the help of NASA.
The country's science ministry said Monday that Korea's lunar orbiter due to launch next August was recently equipped with a state-of-the-art piece of technology the ShadowCam, developed by NASA.
NASA's ShadowCam is an ultra-precise camera that can capture even the darkest parts of the moon's surface, like craters.
"We've never been to the moon before, so the cooperation of the U.S. is crucial. They're pioneers in that field. With the Shadowcam we can acquire additional data that we couldn't get on our own."
NASA provided the ShadowCam for free as part of the U.S.-led Artemis accord, which has been signed by twelve countries agreeing to pool their resources to help each other explore space.
"The U.S. has already sent a man to the moon under the name Apollo. Now they're resending astronauts under the name Artemis,.. which is the goddess of the moon."
NASA started the Artemis program in 2017, and South Korea joined this May.
Under the program athough some technical issues could delay it NASA aims to send astronauts to the moon by 2024, and to build a manned lunar base by 2028.
The data collected by South Korea's orbiter and the ShadowCam will help NASA and the country's own scientists in reaching their goals.
And if this orbiter succeeds along with other planned space goals, South Korea may no longer need help to explore the moon.
"If we succeed in lanching the Nuri space rocket this October,.. we can expect to launch and land a lunar space ship in 2030 using only our own technology."
So for South Korea, a latecomer to space exploration, this is only the beginning.
Eum Ji-young, Arirang News