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Mysterious bullet-shaped object spotted orbiting the moon in NASA pic

Mysterious bullet-shaped object spotted orbiting the moon in NASA pic

It's a South Korean lunar orbiter reaching a relative velocity over 3,200 metres per second.

Recently, NASA found something intriguing after capturing what seemed like a regular photo of the moon last month.

A mysterious, silver object that seems to have been misplaced by its Marvel owner was spotted near the surface of the moon last month and the images have flooded social media.

The shots were snapped by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which portray a thin horizontal line that can only be seen if you zoom in on the image.

Turns out, it belongs to South Korea.

One man shared it to see if any of his X audience could spot it, before explaining what it was.

NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University
NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

He posted: 'There's something weird in the middle of this photo of the Moon's surface. Open the image up, and see if you can find it.

'It's right in the middle.

'And then look at the next tweet to see what it is,' he mentioned.

The user, who goes by the user handle of @ThePlanetaryGuy, then commented below the original post, writing: 'This odd group of pixels is ANOTHER SPACECRAFT ORBITING THE MOON

'It's the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) Danuri lunar orbiter, passing 8,100 metres below the @LRO_NASA spacecraft at a relative closing velocity of more than 3,200 metres per second.'

Danuri has been orbiting the moon since December 2022. The image is quite distorted due to the extreme difference in velocities between it and the LRO, around 7,200 miles an hour.

However, the resulting photo is pretty cool.

NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University
NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

The high velocity caused the photo to smear the Korean spacecraft to 10 times its size in the opposite direction of travel, thanks also to the LRO’s camera’s short exposure window.

While the Danuri marks South Korea’s spacecraft at the moon, the LRO has actually been circling Earth’s natural satellite for over 15 years.

The unique photograph has sparked amazement in the post's viewers.

'I saw that, but figured it was some digital artifact. Had no clue what it really was! Amazing,' one wrote.


'That's insanely cool wtf,' wrote another user.

Interestingly, two more of these shots capturing a similar scene were taken on 5 and 6 March earlier this year.

Due to the fast relative velocities, perfect timing was needed to pinpoint the direction of the LROC at the right place, the right time.

The dynamic flight paths of the two vehicles were nearly parallel as they passed in opposite directions, resulting in 'extreme relative velocity.'

Featured Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University