NASA has released images captured by the Orion capsule and recorded close-up images of the moon’s craters as space continues on the Artemis 1 mission, a 25-and-a-half-day journey that will cover more than 40,000 miles. this side of the moon
Orion’s latest image — taken on Wednesday, the eighth day of the mission, by a camera on one of the sun’s capsule shells — offers angles of the spacecraft with a bit of the moon visible in the background. The close-up images were taken when Orion made its closest approach to the moon, passing about 80 miles (129 kilometers) above the lunar surface.
If Orion completes its journey beyond the moon and toward Earth, it will be the longest space mission intended to carry humans ever. For now, the box only carries inanimate and scientific cargo.
Orion is part of NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to eventually establish a lunar station that will permanently host astronauts for the first time in history, in hopes of one day paving the way to Mars.
The Artemis 1 mission was launched on November 16, when NASA’s long-delayed Launch System, or SLS, rocket capsule rocketed into space, cementing the rocket as the most powerful operational launch vehicle ever built.
The capsule as of Thursday afternoon was 222,993 miles (588,972 kilometers) from Earth and 55,819 miles (89,831 kilometers) from the Moon, traveling at about 2,600 miles per hour, according to NASA.
Orion is now about a day away from entering a “retrograde orbit distance” around our nearest neighbor, because it will be at a very high altitude above the lunar surface, and retrograde, because it will circle the moon from the opposite side. the moon traverses the earth.
The route to the Orion capsule is intended to be a “testing stress,” as Michael Sarafin, NASA’s Artemis mission manager, put it last week.
According to NASA’s Artemis blog, the agency’s television coverage of the remote retrograde orbital insertion is scheduled for 4:30 pm ET Friday and the launch is scheduled for 4:52 pm ET.
After the moon landing, the Orion spacecraft is expected to return to Earth and make a soft landing in the Pacific Ocean on December 11.
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