Interesting FactsLifeScienceWorld

NASA orbiter snaps amazing images of the Earth and moon from 3 million miles away

NASA orbiter snaps amazing images of the Earth and moon from 3 million miles away.NASA’s spacecraft OSIRIS-REX which at this time on its way to grab a lump of an asteroid, has sent to back Earth awe inspiring images of Earth and the Moon in the course. The OSIRIS-REX spacecraft has captured the pictures back in October 2, 2017, just days after it went past the face of Earth even though the images has only just been released by NASA.

At the time of taking the picture the Moon and Earth was roughly about 390,000 kilometers (240,000 miles) apart from each other. OSIRIS-REx captured this image 3 million miles (more than 5 million kilometers) away from the Earth which is more than 13 times greater than the distance between the Moon and Earth. The photos was not taken just by a single snap of a pic. Three images were taken, not just visible light but different radiation. These three images from various color wavelengths were merged to form this single spectacular pic. In this not so easy process of capturing the photograph the Moon was brightened in order to make it more visible.

September 8, 2016, the space craft was launched, yet to reach its final destination of grabbing a chunk of mass from the asteroid the spacecraft had to orbit the Sun for almost a year prior to flying past the Earth. Now why do most spacecraft fly by the Earth? The reason lies within the enormous gravity that the Earth possess. When they fly by the Earth each spacecraft gets a boost of speed from our planet’s gravity. OSIRIS-REX made its most nearby approach to Earth with an altitude (height between it and the surface of the Earth) of 11,000 miles (17,000 kilometers) on 22nd of September 2017. The aircraft then snapped this pic 10 days later.

This speed boost given to the spacecraft by Earth’s gravity will give it sufficient speed to reach its destination Bennu (the asteroid). The spacecraft is designated to meet the asteroid in August 2018. In that time the spacecraft has reached a total distance of about 200 million miles (320 million kilometers) from Earth. The total distance the spacecraft will travel during the whole journey) in reaching Bennu will be 4.5 billion miles (7.2 billion kilometers)

After the spacecraft reached the asteroid it will gather some soil samples with the help of a robotic arm in July 2020. Next the spacecraft will start its trip back to Earth. The soil samples that scientists have been earnestly awaiting will get to their hands on September 2023. It will the largest sample of soil returned from a celestial body since the Apollo missions. It is predicted that this sample could tell us more about the origins of life on Earth.