The Orion capsule, from the Artemis 1 mission, captured its first — and impressive — images of the lunar surface. revealed before NASArecords were set at an altitude of about 130 kilometers, at the maximum approach that occurred last Monday (21).
The black and white photos were taken by the Optical Navigation Camera – an instrument designed to help track the small spacecraft. You can see the details of the rocky lunar soil, with its many craters of different sizes.
NASA explains: “Orion uses this camera to take images of the Earth and Moon at different phases and distances, providing an improved data set to certify its effectiveness under different lighting conditions, as a way to help guide spacecraft on future manned missions.”
The images were taken during a course-correction maneuver that brought the spacecraft closer to the moon its entire journey. The moment, on the sixth day of the mission, was used very well, but that was not the main aim of the maneuvers.
They were necessary for Orion to “pick up momentum” to enter a far retrograde orbit – that is, to rotate in the opposite direction from and away from the Moon – which happened successfully This Friday this (26).
The capsule must reach the farthest point from Earth ever.
The spacecraft must remain around the natural satellite for about a week, and then begin the process of returning the spacecraft to Earth.
Landing in the Pacific Ocean is scheduled for December 11th. Until then, we can also wait for pictures of our planet.
Orion was launched on November 16, by an SLS (Space Launch System) rocket, on the first mission of the Artemis program. With no crew, they serve as a primary test for instruments and systems, on the round trip to the Moon and back.
If all goes well, next year the flight will be repeated with astronauts on board – but still without the moon landing. In 2025, Artemis 3 is planned, which should take a man – and the first woman – to hop on the moon again.
More than that, the main goal of NASA is to establish a lunar base and start exploring deep space, especially the planet Mars.
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