NASA has released a selfie taken by Orion capsules and close-up photos of the landscape marked by the moon’s crater as the spacecraft continues its Artemis 1 mission, a 25-and-a-half-day journey that will take it over 40,000 miles beyond far side of the moon.
Orion’s latest selfie — taken on Wednesday, day eight of the mission, by a camera on one of the capsule’s solar arrays — shows the spacecraft making angles with a slight The moon is visible in the background. The close-up photos were taken on Monday when Orion did it closest approach to the moonpasses about 80 miles (129 km) above the lunar surface.
If Orion completes its journey beyond the moon and back to Earth, it will be the farthest travel a spacecraft intended to carry humans has ever traveled. Currently, the capsule only carries science payload.
Orion is part of NASA’s Artemis program, which ultimately aims to establish a lunar outpost that can host astronauts permanently for the first time in history, with the hope of one day paving the way. to Mars.
Mission Artemis I Released November 16when NASA’s besieged and long-delayed Space Launch System, or SLS, rocket launched the Orion capsule into space, claiming the rocket was the most active launch vehicle ever built. create.
As of Thursday afternoon, the capsule was 222,993 miles (358,972 km) from Earth and 55,819 miles (89,831 km) from the Moon, flying at just over 2,600 miles per hour, according to NASA.
Now, Orion is about a day away from entering a “retrograde orbit” around our nearest neighbor – far away, because it will be very high above the lunar surface and going retrograde. , because it would orbit the moon in the opposite direction of that orbit. The moon goes around the earth.
The path is intended to “test the endurance” of the Orion capsule, as Michael Sarafin, NASA’s Artemis mission director, said last week.
Based on NASA’s Artemis BlogThe agency’s telecast on the retrograde orbital insertion fire is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET Friday, and the burn is scheduled for 4:52 p.m. ET.
After gliding past the moon, the Orion capsule is expected to return to Earth and make a gentle landing in the Pacific Ocean on December 11.