NASA’s Artemis I Orion spacecraft’s camera snapped some stunning new images of the moon and its crafters this week.
Using the Optical Navigation Camera on the sixth day of the mission, the black-and-white images highlight billions of years of history.
Orion flew just over 81 miles above the lunar surface during its closest approach on Monday morning, traveling at 5,102 mph.
“Orion uses the optical navigation camera to capture imagery of the Earth and the moon at different phases and distances, providing an enhanced body of data to certify its effectiveness under different lighting conditions as a way to help orient the spacecraft on future missions with crew,” NASA said in a caption alongside the photos.
“Neil Armstrong took his historic ‘one small step’ on the Moon in 1969. And just three years later, the last Apollo astronauts left our celestial neighbour. Since then, hundreds of astronauts have been launched into space but mainly to the Earth-orbiting International Space Station. None has, in fact, ventured more than a few hundred kilometres from Earth.
”The US-led Artemis program, however, aims to return humans to the Moon this decade – with Artemis 1 on its way back to Earth as part of its first test flight, going around the Moon.
“The Artemis mission is using Nasa’s brand new Space Launch System, which is the most powerful rocket ever – similar in design to the Saturn V rockets that sent a dozen Apollo astronauts to the Moon. Like its predecessors, the Artemis booster combines liquid hydrogen and oxygen to create enormous lifting power before falling into the ocean, never to be used again. Each launch therefore carries an estimated cost of between $2 billion (£1.7 billion) and $4 billion (£3.4 billion).”
The site speculates that the moon missions are becoming too expensive, and without the need to race with other countries, that expense is no longer justified.
CLOSEST PHOTOS OF THE MOON
NASA on Thursday said the Orion spacecraft, part of the Artemis I mission, has captured the closest photos of the Moon “from a human-rated vessel since Apollo – 80 mi (128 km) above the lunar surface.”
— Philstar.com (@PhilstarNews) November 24, 2022
— FORTUNE (@FortuneMagazine) November 25, 2022
— Marcus House (@MarcusHouse) November 21, 2022
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