These are three regions near the Shackleton crater, which is located at the south pole of the Moon.
NASA published this Tuesday a high resolution image of Shackleton Craterlocated at the south pole of the Moon, which was created from several photographs obtained by the camera system of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) probe, as well as the ShadowCam instrument aboard the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) spacecraft ), known as Danuri.
According to the US space agency, this lunar cavity, which remains permanently in shadow, is of particular interest to scientists because it could contain deposits of ice or other frozen volatile compoundslike carbon dioxide.
In addition, it is thought that lunar ice could provide an important resource for future missions on Earth’s natural satellite, since oxygen and hydrogen can be obtained from this compound. It is possible to use these two elements as fuel for rockets or as supplies for life support systems for astronauts.
“Fifty years ago we had no idea that there was ice on the surface of the Moon,” said NASA’s chief exploration scientist, Jacob Bleacher, who stressed that it is unknown whether this volatile compound could be “frozen ground or dirty ice”.
For its part, National Geographic explained that the image of Shackleton Crater shows three of the possible places where the crew of NASA’s Artemis III mission will landwhose completion is scheduled for the end of 2025.
In August of last year, NASA released the potential 13 regions that were selected for the landing of Artemis III. They are all located at the lunar south pole. Likewise, the space agency detailed that each region measures approximately 15 kilometers long by 15 wide. The type of terrain, the ease of communications with the Earth and the lighting conditions were the criteria that the researchers used to choose these landing sites.
However, before Artemis III takes place, NASA will send a crewed mission to orbit the Moon, known as Artemis II, in addition to the VIPER lunar exploration rover. Both explorations are planned for next year.
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