NASA’s Orion lunar capsule is coming back to the Earth, and while it was on its return journey, it captured an awe-inspiring image of the Moon with the Earth rising in the background.
“For Orion, this is not a ‘goodbye,’ but a ‘see you later’ to the Moon,” a NASA TV spokesperson said in the alluring footage captured by one of the Artemis I mission’s many cameras, which captured an Earthrise in the distance as the pair made their way back from their maiden voyage. You can track the progress of the mission on the Artemis blog here.
The images that are captured look amazingly stunning as some of Artemis’ 24 cameras make it appear like something out of some pulpy sci-fi novel art rather than real-life footage coming from an actual journey into space.
The unmanned Orion capsule also completed an important milestone while capturing the incredible footage — its longest-ever engine burn, which lasted 207 seconds as it hovered about 80 miles above the Moon, and put it on its path back to Earth.
The whole move was impressive for other reasons as well, the report notes. Used in 1984 and 2002 on space shuttle missions, Orion’s repurposed orbital maneuvering system (OMS) engine can fire for as long as 16 minutes.
The capsule, which should be crewed with astronauts by 2024, is slated to land in the Pacific Ocean off the Coast of California on December 11, Space.com notes, hitting the atmosphere at a whopping 25,000 miles per hour before its heat shield and parachute slow it down to about 20 MPH before impact.
So far, Orion and Artemis are performing up to NASA’s expectations, according to the report. It shows that the ordeal before the launch and the money spent were worth it!