SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) NASA has chosen nine scientists to be a part of the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) mission, and two of them are planetary scientists at UC Santa Cruz, according to the university.
The mission will be the first from the Republic of Korea going beyond Earth's orbit, and it is expected to launch in August 2022 on a SpaceX Falcon 9. The team will orbit the moon for a year.
The two scientists chosen are Assistant Professor Ian Garrick-Bethell and associate researcher Mikhail Kreslavsky from the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.
The university says Kreslavsky will study lunar polarimetric anomalies using a wide-angle polarimetric camera called PolCam, and Garrick-Bethell will study the moon's lithospheric magnetic field using a magnetometer.
“It is still a mystery how a body as small as the Moon could have once supported a magnetic dynamo in its tiny liquid iron core. The magnetometer on KPLO will provide important new measurements to address this mystery,” Garrick-Bethell said.
Three of the mission's main goals are becoming the first space exploration mission by the Republic of Korea, developing and verifying technologies for deep-space exploration in the future and investigating physical characteristics of the moon's surface to prepare for future robotic landing missions.