NASA’s Artemis I mission has been under the spotlight lately, and we recently saw Orion’s stunning video of the Earth “setting” behind the moon. On its sixth flight day, the spacecraft took detailed shots of the moon’s surface. NASA shared it with the public so that you can look up close at our home planet’s natural satellite.
Orion took the photos with its optical navigation camera. As you can see, the images show the craters on the moon in black and white. “Orion uses the optical navigation camera to capture imagery of the Earth and the Moon at different phases and distances,” NASA writes, “providing an enhanced body of data to certify its effectiveness under different lighting conditions as a way to help orient the spacecraft on future missions with crew.”
NASA successfully launched Artemis 1 on 16 November 2022, and all of the mission milestones have been reached so far. Right now, Orion is less than a day away from entering into a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon, approximately 50,000 miles from its surface. “Due to the distance, the orbit is so large that it will take the spacecraft six days to complete half of a revolution around the Moon before exiting the orbit for the return journey back to Earth,” NASA explains. And while we wait, here are also some snaps Orion took with a camera mounted on one of its solar arrays. You’ll find plenty more photos on NASA’s Flickr, and you can read more about the Artemis mission on NASA’s blog.
[via New Scientist]