Earth rises above the shadowed moon like a blue beacon in a newly released video from NASA’s Artemis 1 mission.
The uncrewed Orion spacecraft captured the footage on Monday (Nov. 21), the same day it performed a crucial engine burn during a lunar flyby. Five days earlier, Orion launched into space on Artemis 1, the first flight of NASA’s Artemis program.
The two-minute video shows Earth slowly appearing behind the moon as Orion flies overhead. The moon is completely invisible in shadow, making our planet appear to come out of a black void.
The video was taken at 8:05 am EST (1305 GMT) on Monday, about six minutes after Orion regained contact with NASA’s Deep Space Network of antennas following its lunar maneuver, agency officials said in a description with the video on YouTube (opens in new tab).
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The video footage was transmitted to Earth outside of an epic live broadcast that took place around that time, which focused on viewing our planet as a “pale blue dot” deep in space in the minutes after Orion regained communication with Earth.
“You are seeing the Earth; you are seeing home. You are seeing yourself in that image right there as Orion is 232,000 miles [373,000 kilometers] away from planet Earth,” NASA spokesperson Sandra Jones said during live coverage of the Orion lunar flyby on NASA Television.
Live viewers on Monday also saw Earth setting behind the moon in the moments before Orion lost communication, as expected, to perform its engine maneuver on the lunar far side, which radio waves from our planet cannot reach.
The Artemis 1 mission is testing the readiness of Orion and NASA’s huge Space Launch System rocket for future missions of the Artemis program, which will continue with the Artemis 2 crewed mission around the moon as soon as 2024.
Elizabeth Howell is the co-author of “Why Am I Taller? (opens in new tab)?” (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book about space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).