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Camera developed by Arizona State professor to help find frost, ice on moon

An airplane flies against the backdrop of the rising moon after taking off from Miami International airport, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, above Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

PHOENIX — A camera developed by an Arizona State University professor has been picked by NASA to search for evidence of frost or ice on the moon.

ShadowCam, which was developed by professor Mark Robinson, observes seasonal changes and measures the terrain inside craters on the moon.

Photo courtesy of ASU

This illustration shows the ShadowCam in action. Photo courtesy of ASU.

It has been selected as the United States’ contribution to the Korean Aerospace Research Institute’s first lunar exploration mission, Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter.

Prasun Mahanti, deputy principal investigator on the project, said the camera will “take images at the permanently-shadowed regions on the moon.”

“These are places on the moon close to the lunar poles where no light reaches,” Mahanti said, adding that these regions are “very critical” in understanding the moon.

The camera is able to do this because it is around 800 times more sensitive to light. This will be the first time scientists will be able to collect data from these dark regions.

“The big areas are really great locations for where we can find if water exists,” Mahanti said. “Those would be really important areas for future explorations on the moon.”

The Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter is set to launch in 2018.

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