(ORDO NEWS) — On its way to the Moon, NASA’s Orion space capsule sends Earth images back to Earth that resemble the “blue marble” images taken by the Apollo astronauts fifty years earlier.
This time, the photographer is essentially a robot built into the camera system of the Artemis-1 unmanned mission.
The Odyssey around the Moon began early this morning with the first launch of NASA’s Space Launch System and over the next 25 days it should pave the way for future manned missions to the Moon’s surface.
Hours after liftoff, a camera mounted on one of Orion’s four solar arrays rotated to capture a view of the spacecraft. The European-made service module in the foreground is our semi-shaded planet against the black background of space.
“Orion is looking at the Earth flying towards the Moon, 57,000 miles from where we call home,” Sandra Jones of NASA said as the image panned down.
The main purpose of Orion’s 16 cameras is to monitor the performance of the capsule’s components from launch to splashdown, inside and out.
The four solar array cameras can also take pictures of the Earth as well as pictures of the Moon as Orion approaches.
“For many people, Earthrise is based on the classic Apollo 8 image,” David Melendres, Image Integration. director of the Orion program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, according to an online guide to the camera system.
“Images taken during the mission will be different from what mankind saw during the Apollo missions, but capturing important events such as the rising of the Earth, Orion’s maximum distance from the Earth, and the flyby of the Moon will be of high priority.”
Timelapse of @NASA_Orion during Artemis I’s journey to the Moon. Orion is scheduled to get as close as possible to the vicinity of the Moon on November 21st. >
Taking a selfie with Earth wasn’t the only thing Orion and the Artemis 1 crew did in the first 24 hours of the mission: 10 shoebox-sized satellites were launched from the upper stage of the space launch system. – lunar injection.
One of the CubeSats, the Lunar IceCube, will look for signs of water ice on the Moon. Another satellite, LunIR, will take pictures of the lunar surface to characterize the Moon’s thermal environment. lunar surface.
Japan’s Omotenashi satellite will attempt a “semi-hard” but survivable moon landing, while NASA’s NEA Scout is designed to deploy a solar sail and fly off to study a near-Earth asteroid.
In the coming weeks, the Artemis 1 team will be monitoring how Orion performs as a trial run of a manned mission around the Moon scheduled for 2024 and a manned moon landing. for 2025.
Three mannequins sit in Orion chairs, connected to sensors to collect data on radiation exposure and other aspects of the space environment.
The next major milestone of the mission arrives on November 21, when Orion should get as close as possible to the Moon, passing by at an altitude of about 60 miles.
The spacecraft will fire up its main engine and use the Moon’s gravitational field to maneuver. into a tortuous orbit extending up to 40,000 miles.
The big test for Orion will be when he returns to Earth and re-enters the atmosphere at 24,500 miles per hour.
The heat shield is designed for weather temperatures rising to 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, but Orion’s descent to splashdown in the Pacific on December 11 will mark the first time the heat shield is being tested in real-world conditions.
Artemis 1 has been in the making for years, and the multi-billion dollar program has been criticized. This mission alone is said to have cost over US$4 billion.
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