Wave hello to yourself! NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft captured this image of the Earth and Moon on January 17 from a distance of 39.5 million miles. It’s been an incompatible few months on this blue dot of ours, but nothing puts life into perception like this amazing photo captured by a spacecraft literally millions of miles from us.
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx, an asteroid-sampling spacecraft, captured the image below as portion of an engineering test on January 17 2018. The probe was stirring away from us at about 8.5 km per second (19,000 miles per hour) when it captured the photo – snapping a minute Earth and Moon sitting together 63.6 million kilometers (39.5 million miles) away from us.
In the photo, you can see Earth is the perky dot in the mid of the image, and the Moon is the minor dot to the right. But if you look a little closely, there’s way much more to haze upon in the background.
As NASA explains, “Several constellations are also visible in the surrounding space. The bright cluster of stars in the upper left corner is the Pleiades in the Taurus constellation.”
“Hamal, the brightest star in Aries, is located in the upper right corner of the image. The Earth-Moon system is centred in the middle of five stars comprising the head of Cetus the Whale.”
Since its launch on 8 September 2016, this isn’t the first breathtaking photo OSIRIS-REx has sent back to us. Back in January we received a much closer image when the Spacecraft was nearly 400,000 kilometres (230,000 miles) away from Earth.
We also got a complite color composite snap of Earth at 170,000 kilometres that could wow even the staunchest flat earther a year after it first launched. The spacecraft is projected to reach its target, the asteroid Bennu, in August 2018 – and will transport both materials and photos of this asteroid ‘time capsule’ back to Earth around September 2023.
Mainly, we’ve only perceived the start of what this brave little spacecraft can do. But in the interim, millions of miles puts Earth in a bit more perspective