NASA’s Orion spacecraft takes a selfie as it prepares to pass behind the moon

NASA’s Orion spacecraft took a sweet selfie, ahead of today’s first approach to the moon.

The high-resolution image, taken on Friday, shows the horizontally cone-shaped crew module as it makes its journey to our celestial neighbor.

Orion took the self-portrait using a camera mounted on the solar array suite during a routine external inspection of the spacecraft on the third day of the Artemis I mission.

It has already captured a stunning “blue marble” image of Earth nine hours into its epic journey.

After launching Orion last Wednesday, Orion is scheduled to begin its first flyby of the moon today at 7:44 EST (12:44 GMT), with its closest approach scheduled at 7:57 EST. (12:57 GMT).

At this time, the uncrewed spacecraft will pass about 80 miles (128 kilometers) above the lunar surface, according to NASA.

Heavenly selfie! NASA’s Orion spacecraft snapped a picture of itself preparing to pass behind the moon this morning

NASA's next-generation moon rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with Orion crew capsule, lifts off from Launch Complex 39-B for the uncrewed Artemis I mission to the moon, in Cape Canaveral, Fla., November 16, 2022.

NASA’s next-generation moon rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with Orion crew capsule, lifts off from Launch Complex 39-B for the uncrewed Artemis I mission to the moon, in Cape Canaveral, Fla., November 16, 2022.

What is Artemis I?

Artemis I is an uncrewed test flight for NASA’s Artemis program, consisting of the Orion rocket, and the Space Launch System (SLS).

It successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center on November 16, 2022 at 01:47 EDT (06:47 GMT).

The primary operations objective of the mission is to ensure the crew module’s safe entry, disembarkation, splashdown, and recovery.

NASA’s Artemis program will land the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2025, specifically in the lunar south pole region.

It is also hoped that establishing a sustainable presence on the Moon will eventually be used as a “stepping stone” for the first human mission to Mars.

It is the successor to the Apollo program that saw men walk on the Moon for the last time in 1972, as part of the Apollo 17 mission.

If Artemis I is successful, a human flight around the Moon would follow in 2024 (Artemis II) and could lead to the first woman and first person of color to follow in Neil Armstrong’s footsteps the following year.

In addition to sending Orion on its voyage around the Moon, the SLS carried 10 small satellites conducting its own science and technology investigations.

Source: NASA

Engineers expect to lose contact with the spacecraft as it is behind the Moon for about 34 minutes from 07:26 EDT (12:26 GMT).

The public can track Orion during its mission around the Moon and back in real time, using NASA’s interactive online tool.

NASA published the profile picture of Twitter With the caption: “A few days after it reached the Moon, the @NASA_Orion spacecraft took this selfie while flying through space.

The #Artemis I mission prepares us to bring astronauts to the moon.

Artemis I is NASA’s uncrewed flight test of a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft, which launched last Wednesday from Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida.

Artemis I was designed to show that the SLS and Orion capsule were ready to carry astronauts to the Moon on subsequent Artemis II and Artemis III missions.

If the mission is successful, Artemis I will follow a human flight around the Moon in 2024 (Artemis II) and may lead to the landing of the first woman and first person of color on the Moon the following year.

Artemis I mission chief Mike Sarafin said Friday that the Orion spacecraft is “exceeding performance expectations.”

Orion is already about 200,000 miles (320,000 km) from Earth and is preparing to perform the first of four scheduled main engine thrusts during the mission.

This maneuver will bring the spacecraft within 80 miles (130 km) of the lunar surface, in order to take advantage of the moon’s gravitational pull.

Since this will happen on the far side of the Moon, NASA is expected to lose contact with the spacecraft for about 35 minutes.

“We’re going to pass over some of the Apollo landing sites,” said flight director Jeff Radigan, though it will be in the dark.

Four days later, a second batch of engines will put Orion into distant lunar orbit.

It will then begin its journey back to Earth, and is scheduled to touch down in the Pacific Ocean on December 11, just 25 days into the journey.

A Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will carry the Orion capsule into space on its 25-and-a-half-day trip around the Moon and then touch down in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 11.

A Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will carry the Orion capsule into space on its 25-and-a-half-day trip around the Moon and then touch down in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 11.

This image shows a view of NASA's Orion spacecraft, on its way to the Moon with Earth (

This image shows a view of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, on its way to the moon with Earth (“the blue marble”) in the background

Humans Could Live on the Moon by the End of the Decade: NASA

After the successful launch of Artemis I, a NASA official said that humans may live on the moon before the end of the decade.

Howard Hu, Orion program manager, said: “In this decade we’re going to have people live [on the moon] For periods, depending on how long they’ve been on the surface, they’ll have habitats, and they’ll have rovers on the ground.

He said the lunar missions were a step toward manned missions to Mars – “a bigger stepping stone”.

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Sarafin also said that 10 accurate scientific satellites were deployed at the launch of the rocket, but half of them had technical or communications problems.

However, these experiments, which are being conducted separately by independent teams, will have no impact on the main mission.

Artemis I is not a manned mission, which means there are no humans aboard the Orion capsule.

However, Orion has three dwarves on board – two that resemble a female body (Helga and the Zohar) and one a male body (Campos).

Campos — named after Arturo Campos, a NASA electrical engineer in the 1970s — takes the commander’s seat during the Artemis I mission while wearing the new Orion Crew Survival System flight suit.

Campos is equipped with two radiation sensors and has additional sensors under the headrest and behind its seat to record acceleration and vibration data throughout the mission.

Meanwhile, Helga and the Zohar are on board the passenger seats as part of an important study into the dangers of space radiation to real female astronauts in the near future.

Helga and the Zohar have “variable density tissue equivalents” that simulate the proportions of a woman’s body, including bone and soft tissue.

Helga will fly to the Moon unprotected, while the Zohar (above) wears a newly developed radiation protection vest called AstroRad

Helga will fly to the Moon unprotected, while the Zohar (above) wears a newly developed radiation protection vest called AstroRad

The sensors were installed in the most radiation-sensitive areas of their “body” – the chest, stomach, uterus and bone marrow.

Helga flies unprotected to the Moon, while the Zohar wears a newly developed radiation protective vest called AstroRad, which is made of polyethylene to better block harmful protons in space.

By comparing the two sets of data, it will be possible to determine how well the jacket protects the astronaut from exposure to harmful radiation.

They are not the first dwarfs in space; A phantom called Matroshka, developed by the DLR Institute for Space Medicine in Cologne, was deployed on the International Space Station between 2004 and 2011.

The NASA Official Flight Kit’s list of Artemis I items also includes 245 silver Snoopy pins, a Dead Sea pebble, 567 American flags, and a Shaun the Sheep amulet.

The British stop-motion character, star of the Wallace & Gromit series, is meant to represent the UK and the European Space Agency (ESA) on board.

Shaun has his own spin-off TV series and appeared in his children’s sci-fi movie A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon in 2019.

Ahead of Artemis I's launch, NASA revealed a list of items it will send on its journey to Earth's natural satellite, including the Shaun the Sheep amulet (pictured)

Ahead of Artemis I’s launch, NASA revealed a list of items it will send on its journey to Earth’s natural satellite, including the Shaun the Sheep amulet (pictured)

NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the moon in 2025 as part of the Artemis mission

Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and the moon goddess in Greek mythology.

Chosen by NASA to exemplify its way back to the moon, which will see astronauts return to the lunar surface by 2025 — including the first woman and the next man.

Artemis 1, formerly known as Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Artemis 1 will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s Deep Space Exploration System: Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) and ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed flight that will provide a foundation for human exploration of deep space, and demonstrate our commitment and ability to expand human presence to the Moon and beyond.

During this journey, the spacecraft will launch on the world’s most powerful rocket and fly farther than any spacecraft ever built for humans.

It will travel 280,000 miles (450,600 kilometers) from Earth, and thousands of miles beyond the moon, over the course of a three-week mission.

Artemis 1, formerly known as Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration of the Moon and Mars.  This diagram shows the different stages of a task

Artemis 1, formerly known as Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration of the Moon and Mars. This diagram shows the different stages of a task

Orion will stay in space longer than any astronaut ship has ever done without docking with a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before.

With this first exploration mission, NASA is leading the next steps for human exploration in deep space as astronauts will build and begin testing systems near the moon needed for lunar surface missions and exploration to other destinations far from Earth, including Mars.

It will take the crew down a different path and test critical Orion systems with humans on board.

Together, Orion, SLS and Kennedy’s ground systems will be able to meet the most challenging crew and cargo needs in deep space.

Ultimately, NASA seeks to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2028 as a result of the Artemis mission.

The space agency hopes that this colony will reveal new scientific discoveries, showcase new technological developments, and lay the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy.

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