NASA’s Orion photographed the Earth and Moon from a quarter of a million miles away
Orion spacecraft record distance from Earth made for a stunning photo, obviously. NASA has shared photo taken on Monday by the Artemis I vehicle, with the Earth and Moon in the background. Much like some Apollo photo or Voyager 1″Pale blue dot“, the image puts the home of humanity into perspective – our world is just one small planet in a much larger cosmos.
Orion took the shot around its maximum distance from Earth of 268,563 miles. It is the farthest any manned spacecraft has traveled, surpassing even Apollo 13’s record of 248,655 miles in 1970. Significantly, Artemis I represents the first time an explorer intended to travel this far—Apollo 13 only ventured so far from Earth because NASA’s emergency flight plan required the Moon as a slingshot.
Ars Technica notes that this early Artemis flight has so far exceeded NASA’s expectations. While the mission team has so far completed only 31 of 124 key objectives, it is adding objectives such as extended thruster tests. About half of the remaining activities are ongoing, while the rest are largely dependent on returning to Earth.
Orion is expected to make landfall off the coast of San Diego on December 11. The Artemis program dealt with numerous delaysand now it is not expected to land men on the moon by 2025 or 2026. NASA originally hoped to land on the moon in 2024. However, the current performance of Artemis I indicates that the space agency’s efforts are finally paying off.
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