Earth as seen by the Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft. NASA.

Artemis I Photographs Earth Halfway to the Moon

NASA's Orion spacecraft snapped black-and-white photos of Earth. The photo was taken halfway to the Moon on day two of the 25.5-day Artemis I mission.

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An Optical Navigation Camera on NASA’s Orion spacecraft snapped black-and-white photos of Earth. The photo was taken halfway to the Moon on day two of the 25.5-day Artemis I mission. Earth and Moon images are captured by Orion’s Optical Navigation Camera at differing phases and distances. Consequently, an improved body of data is available to verify its efficacy as a method for determining its location in space under different lighting conditions in future missions. In addition, the teams activated Lockheed Martin’s Callisto technology demo, a collaboration between Amazon and Cisco.

Flight controllers relocated the solar arrays while the Integrated Communications Officer, or INCO, tested the WiFi connection speed between the camera on top of the solar array panels and its controller. To ensure the most efficient transfer of imagery files, the most suitable position had to be determined.

Testing and more testing

In the cockpit of Orion, Callisto is testing technology for video and voice activation that could benefit astronauts in the future. It takes six days from launch for the spacecraft to reach lunar orbit. Auxiliary engines attached to the European service module and the Orion capsule are triggered to assist the ship in correcting its trajectory en route. By entering the lunar sphere of influence, Orion’s primary gravitational force will be that of the Moon rather than the Earth. The spacecraft will be guided beyond the Moon into a distant retrograde orbit with the help of a powered-out flyby burn, which will harness the Moon’s gravity and accelerate it.

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At its closest approach, Orion will travel approximately 120 kilometers above the moon’s surface during the powered flyby. Orion will be placed into a distant retrograde orbit four days later by another startup using the European Service Module. To test the spacecraft systems, this orbit will last about a week.

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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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