Artemis 1’s Orion capsule takes close-up pictures of the moon
The moon looks spectacular in images captured by NASA’s Orion spacecraft as it traveled 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 put the capsule into a high orbit around The moon on Friday (November 25). The capsule will perform a single engine burn, and all being well, it will remain in lunar orbit for about a week before beginning its journey back to The Earth. The spacecraft is scheduled to land in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California on December 11.
Connected: NASA’s Artemis 1 Lunar Mission: Live Updates
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Orion is busy capturing images of the Earth and the Moon at different phases and distances to test the effectiveness of its optical navigation camera in different lighting conditions as a way to help orient the spacecraft during future crewed missions, according to descriptions of the images of NASA’s Flickr account (opens in new tab).
If all goes well, the pair could fly astronauts to the vicinity of 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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