LUCY, NASA's first mission to study Trojan asteroids, took photographs of the surface of the Moon as it performed a gravitational flyby.
Approximately 6.5 hours after NASA’s LUCY mission flew by Earth for its first gravity assist on Oct 16, 2022, it captured the below image of the Moon’s surface. This image was taken when Lucy was located approximately 160,000 miles (260,000 km) from the Moon, showing an Earth-based perspective. Approximately 800 miles (1200 km) of the last quarter moon are visible in this image. On the left of the center, you can see many familiar craters, including Arzachel, a relatively new crater. To the lower left of the center, you can see the Straight Wall fault scarp cutting across the lava plains. To maximize image quality, this image was composed of ten separate exposures of the same scene of two milliseconds. The pixels represent an approximate distance of 0.8 miles (1.3 km). Lucy’s high-resolution greyscale imager, L’LORRI (Lucy Long Range Reconnaissance Imager), captured the image.
Between 7.5 and 8 hours after Lucy flew by Earth for its first of three gravity assists en route to Trojan asteroids on October 16, it captured a mosaic of the Moon’s surface (below) with the same instrument. The spacecraft’s closest approach took it within 224 miles (360 km) of the Earth, below the international space station’s altitude. When these images were taken, Lucy was approximately 140,000 miles (230,000 km) away from the Moon. As seen in Lucy’s mosaic, the last quarter moon’s terminator is at the center. On the bottom of the mosaic is the rugged, heavily cratered Southern Highlands, and on top is the ancient, lava-filled impact basin Mare Imbrium. On the mosaic’s left edge, the bright, fresh crater Copernicus stands out.
Five separate exposures of 1 millisecond have been stitched together to make the above mosaic. A small mismatch exists between the images covering the uppermost portion of the moon’s edge due to the fact that some images were taken earlier by the spacecraft. In this image, each pixel represents approximately 0.7 miles (1.2 km).
The image above shows a swath of lunar terrain 600 miles (1000 km) wide, dominated by the ancient, lava-filled impact basin Mare Imbrium. Also, the Apennine Mountains, part of the Imbrium basin rim, are visible here. The lower-right portion of the image is dominated by the landing site for Apollo 15 in 1971. The image was taken when Lucy was approximately 140,000 miles (230,000 km) from the Moon. A single exposure of 1 millisecond was used to capture the image. Approximately 0.7 miles (1.1 km) are represented by each pixel.