NASA's Asteroid-Bound Aircraft Captures Stunning Image Of Earth And Moon


Last October, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was already 5,420,000 kilometers (3,370,000 miles) away from Earth when it captured a stunning photo of our planet and the Moon. It is expected to reach the asteroid Bennu by the end of 2018.

Earth And Moon

The Earth and the Moon are about 390,000 kilometers away from each other. Last Oct. 2, the MapCam instrument of NASA's OSIRIS-Rex was passing at already 13 times that distance from the Earth when it snapped images of our planet and its partner Moon.

Three images were captured by the instrument that were then color-corrected, the Moon brightened to make it more visible in the image and then combined to make one stunning colored image of the Earth and the Moon.

Images Of Earth From Space

It's always amazing to see images of Earth from space, as it gives a whole new perspective to the lives living in it, and OSIRIS-Rex's photo is just one of the many amazing photos of Earth from space. One of them happens to also be taken by the same spacecraft as it bid farewell to Earth last September 2017. This image was black and white, but it is a much closer image of the planet, which also showed remnants of the destructive hurricanes Maria and Jose.

Another amazing image of Earth is that of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter when it was about to land on the moon in February 2014. The image shows the surface of the moon with the Earth in the distance during its "Earthrise." Just months later, the Orbiter captures yet another amazing photograph that showed a colorized image of the Earth set against the gray Lunar surface. The stunning image was taken last Oct. 12, 2015.

An image tagged "The Day the Earth Smiled" is a rare image, which was captured by NASA's Cassini Spacecraft. It captured not just Saturn's iconic rings but also the Earth and the Moon in the same photograph.

OSIRIS-REx Mission To Bennu

Though it has taken two incredible space images of Earth, OSIRIS-REx's mission is actually to Bennu, an asteroid that could contain organic materials that serve as precursors of life. It is an asteroid that may tell scientists important things about how life on Earth was formed and also one that could collide with Earth centuries from now.

OSIRIS-REx left the planet last September 2016. It is expected to reach Bennu on December and return to Earth with samples by 2023.

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