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Superb picture of crescent Earth rising over the moon captured by Orion



The Orion capsule has made its closest cross above the floor of the moon and begun its journey again to Earth, capturing astonishing views of our planet on the best way


5 December 2022

Earth is seen as a crescent past the moon on this picture taken from the Orion spacecraft


NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which launched atop the House Launch System (SLS) rocket on 16 November, is heading dwelling. The capsule accomplished its closest cross by the moon on 5 December, hurtling across the moon’s far aspect and lighting up its thrusters to start the journey again to Earth.

The shut cross took the capsule simply 127 kilometres above the floor of the far aspect of the moon – the aspect we by no means see from Earth as a result of size of the moon’s orbit being tightly locked with the timing of its rotation. As Orion handed again into view of Earth, it took photographs of the crescent planet rising above the moon’s cratered floor.

If all goes properly, Orion will return to Earth on 11 December, splashing down within the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California. This will probably be one among essentially the most difficult elements of the mission – Orion’s warmth protect will probably be subjected to temperatures of virtually 2800°C because it plunges into Earth’s environment. Ensuring the warmth protect holds up throughout that infernal descent is without doubt one of the key objectives of this take a look at flight.

If Orion proves protected, the following step would be the Artemis II mission, deliberate for 2024, by which a capsule will carry astronauts across the moon and again dwelling. Then, in 2025, a capsule is scheduled to take astronauts again to the floor of the moon for the primary time since Apollo 17 in 1972. NASA officers hope that this mission, known as Artemis III, will mark the start of a sustained human presence on the lunar floor.

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