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Artemis 1's Orion capsule sends Earth 1st image of home on the way to the moon

Even from only one-fifth of the distance to the moon, Earth looks pretty small.

The first breathtaking image from Artemis 1's upcoming 25-day journey through outer space has been transmitted home.

Today, November 16, at 1:47 a.m. EST (0647 GMT), the mission's Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket was launched in order to carry out an unmanned test flight around the moon. More than nine hours into the Artemis 1 voyage, the fresh "selfie" image of the Orion spacecraft's hardware and the Earth's half lit disc was captured. The spacecraft was moving at about 5,500 mph at a distance of more than 57,000 miles (92,000 kilometres) from Earth at the time (8,800 kph).

During today's live broadcast from the capsule, NASA spokesperson Sandra Jones said, "This view of Earth captured from a human-rated spacecraft not seen since 1972 during the final Apollo mission, about 50 years ago." A new generation, the Artemis generation, is currently being inspired by images of our blue marble in the darkness of space.

NASA also shared a shot from inside the capsule, showing "passenger" Commander Moonikin Campos, who is testing the orange suit that astronauts would wear aboard the craft on its next mission, in addition to the "selfie" picture.

The Callisto experiment, a joint venture with Amazon to test Alexa technology in space, is also visible in the inside view. On the right side of the image, one of the Orion's windows may be seen.

According to a NASA statement(opens in new tab), the spacecraft also has two other cameras: one that faces the front window and another that faces the top hatch window. The latter camera observed the launch abort system being discarded by the spacecraft earlier in the day and will watch the parachute deploy when the spacecraft lands.

The Orion spacecraft, along with its orbital manoeuvring system and the huge engine powering its voyage around the moon, may be seen in the "selfie" shots to the left of the photograph. One solar panel and a portion of a second one are also visible in the photograph; the vehicle is equipped with four solar panels in total, which are positioned in the form of a cross.

In actuality, the image was captured by one of those panels, which NASA refers to as "solar array wings," or SAWs.

According to a statement from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, each of Orion's four solar array wings includes a commercial off-the-shelf camera installed at the tip that has been extensively modified for usage in space and offers a view of the spaceship exterior.

For launch day, the Artemis 1 mission has achieved all of its significant milestones. It will travel to the moon over the course of the next five days. On Monday, November 21, the capsule will come as close as it can to our satellite. It will then spend several days settling into lunar orbit before changing its trajectory. On December 11, the 25-day mission will be over.

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Edited by: Satyavrat Singh

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