NASA's LRO Captures Mysterious 'Surfboard' Orbiting the Moon in Perfect Timing: What Is It?

The Danuri marks South Korea's first spacecraft on the moon, while the LRO has been orbiting Earth's natural satellite for 15 years.

NASA recently released images showing a sliver of a mysterious, surfboard-shaped object near the surface of the moon, captured last month. The photos, taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), show a thin horizontal line of an object that resembles the board of Marvel's Silver Surfer character.

However, the intriguing subject is not something from the comic book world or superhero movies, nor is it a UFO. Instead, it belongs to South Korea. The LRO captured several images of its Korean counterpart, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute's Danuri lunar orbiter, as the two spacecraft zipped past each other in parallel but opposite directions between March 5 and 6, NASA said.

Mysterious Little Object on Moon

The mysterious object captured by NASA's LRO on the surface of the moon is South Korea's lunar orbiter Danuri NASA

The image of Danuri, which has been orbiting the moon since December 2022, appears distorted due to the extremely fast relative velocities between it and the LRO, which is about 7,200 miles per hour.

As a result, the photo smears the Korean spacecraft to 10 times its size in the opposite direction of travel, due to the LRO's camera's short exposure time.

The Danuri marks South Korea's first spacecraft on the moon, while the LRO has been orbiting Earth's natural satellite for 15 years.

The LRO operations team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland managed to pinpoint its camera at the precise time and location to capture a glimpse of Danuri. This required "exquisite timing," according to the space agency.

The blurry image shows Danuri as a thin horizontal line on the surface of the moon NASA

In a role reversal last spring, Danuri photographed the LRO as it passed about 11 miles above the US spacecraft on April 7th.

Danuri had earlier captured images of the Vikram lander's landing site on the Moon's surface.

The images were taken at the landing site of Chandrayaan-3, known as the 'Shiv Shakti Point,' located on the Moon's South Pole.

The South Korean embassy shared on a social media platform, "Sharing the wonderful snap taken by South Korea's lunar orbiter Danuri of 'Shiv Shakti point'- the landing site of Chandrayaan-3 on the South Pole of Moon's surface."

In addition to freezing an orbiting spacecraft in time, the LRO has also spotted remnants of crashed lunar landers. Earlier this year, it even fired a laser at India's Vikram lander in an attempt to improve the positioning systems of future landers.

Related topics : Nasa Space