The Orion Artemis 1 capsule takes close-up photos of the moon
The moon looks spectacular in images captured by NASA’s Orion spacecraft as it cruised just 81.1 miles (130 kilometers) above the lunar surface during the Artemis 1 mission’s closest approach to Earth’s natural satellite on Monday (Nov. 21).
Orion is currently preparing for a critical maneuver that will insert the capsule into a high orbit around month on Friday (November 25). The capsule will perform a single engine burn and, if all goes well, will remain in lunar orbit for approximately one week before beginning its journey back to Earth. The spacecraft is scheduled to crash into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California on December 11.
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Orion has been busy snapping images of the Earth and Moon at different phases and distances to test the effectiveness of its optical navigation camera under different lighting conditions as a way to help orient the spacecraft during future manned missions, according to image descriptions on NASA’s Flickr account (opens in new tab).
If all goes well, the pair could fly astronauts close to the moon as early as 2024 — for the first time since 1972 — during Artemis 2.
About a year or two later, Artemis 3 will land astronauts near the south pole of the Moon.
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