If the astronauts carrying out the Artemis II mission will be able to admire such views, I will sincerely envy them.
As the manned spacecraft (yes, manned, though not manned) returns from behind the Moon to Earth, Orion captured this stunning image with one of its cameras.
In the picture we see a fragment of Orion itself, a huge fragment of the Moon that the ship is approaching, but most importantly – just above the edge of the Moon, a crescent of the distant 360,000 km of Earth is visible. It is a sight that is certainly not commonplace. You could even say that we see the Earth rising above the Moon here, although this is a far-fetched interpretation.
It’s a shame that the Sun’s glare just below the lower right corner of the frame spoiled the image a bit and it wasn’t possible to take a clearer, darker image. Perhaps the astronauts of the Artemis 2 mission will get a chance to take a nicer version of this photo.
What happens to Orion?
On Monday, the Orion spacecraft that returned behind the Moon flew 127 km above the surface of the Silver Globe, started its engine for two minutes and set on a trajectory that will take it directly home. Already on Sunday 11 December, Orion will enter the Earth’s atmosphere, where its heat shield must withstand temperatures of 2800 degrees Celsius during aerobraking.
Only after the initial deceleration will the parachutes be released, after which the ship will calmly descend to the surface of the ocean off the coast of California. If the mission is successful, Orion will set out on the same journey again in two years, this time with a crew of several people on board. At least that’s the plan.
Today’s picture: this is what astronauts will see when they fly to the moon in 2 years