NASA’s Orion photographed the Earth and Moon from a quarter of a million miles away

The Orion spacecraft record distance from earth makes for great photography, apparently. NASA has share a photo taken by the Artemis I vehicle on Monday showing both Earth and the Moon in the background. A bit like certain photographs of Apollo or Voyager 1″Pale blue dot“, the image puts the home of humanity into perspective – our world is just a small planet in a much larger cosmos.

Orion took the snapshot around its maximum distance from Earth of 268,563 miles. It’s the farthest distance traveled by a human-powered spacecraft, even breaking Apollo 13’s record of 248,655 miles since 1970. Notably, Artemis I represents the first time explorers have intended to travel that far – Apollo 13 only ventured so far from Earth because NASA’s emergency flight plan required the Moon as a slingshot.

Ars-Technica Remarks that this first Artemis flight has so far exceeded NASA’s expectations. While the mission team has only achieved 31 base objectives out of 124 so far, they are adding objectives such as extended thruster tests. About half of the remaining activities are ongoing, with the rest largely dependent on returning to Earth.

Orion is scheduled to crash land off the coast of San Diego on December 11. The Artemis program dealt with many delaysand should no longer land humans on the Moon until 2025 or 2026. NASA originally hoped for a lunar landing in 2024. Still, Artemis I’s current performance suggests the space agency’s efforts are finally paying off.

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