A selfie taken by NASA has been released Orion capsule and close-up photos of the moon’s crater-marked landscape as the spacecraft continues its Artemis 1 mission, a 25-and-a-half-day journey that will take it more than 40,000 miles to the moon’s far side.
Orion’s latest selfie — taken by a camera on one of the capsule’s solar arrays on Wednesday, the eighth day of the mission — shows the spacecraft giving angles with some moon visible in the background. The close-up photos were taken during Orion’s flyby on Monday Closest approach to the moonIt passes about 80 miles (129 kilometers) above the moon’s surface.
If Orion completes its journey beyond the Moon and back to Earth, it will be the farthest a human-carrying spacecraft has ever traveled. For now, the capsule only carries inanimate, scientific payloads.
Orion is part of NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to build a lunar outpost that can permanently host astronauts for the first time in history, with the hope of one day paving the way to Mars.
Artemis I mission started operating on November 16NASA’s long-delayed Space Launch System, or SLS, rocketed the Orion capsule into space, cementing the rocket as the most powerful operational launch vehicle ever built.
As of Thursday afternoon, the capsule was 222,993 miles (358,972 kilometers) from Earth and 55,819 miles (89,831 kilometers) from the moon, traveling at just over 2,600 miles per hour, according to NASA.
Orion is now about a day away from entering a “far retrograde orbit” around our nearest neighbor – far because it will be at a much higher altitude than the Moon’s surface, and retrograde because the moon will orbit in the opposite direction. the moon revolves around the earth.
The path is intended to “stress test” the Orion capsule, as NASA’s Artemis mission manager Michael Sarafi said last week.
according to NASA’s Artemis blogthe agency’s televised broadcast of the burn entering a distant retrograde orbit is scheduled for Friday at 4:30 p.m. local time, and the burn is scheduled to occur at 4:52 p.m. ET.
On December 11, the Orion capsule is expected to return to Earth after brushing the Moon and make a gentle landing in the Pacific Ocean.
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