NASA’s Artemis I mission captures stunning images of the lunar surface

NASA’s Orion spacecraft continues its journey around the moon while those with the Artemis I target continue to collect data for use in future missions within the program. On Wednesday, officials from Artemis I unveiled a series of still images of the lunar surface, showing the craters in all their glory. NASA’s social media profiles showed four images of different parts of the moon. According to the post, the images released are the closest images from the satellite since the end of the Apollo program in 1975.

“This image was taken using Orion’s optical navigation system, which captures black-and-white images of the Earth and Moon at different phases and distances. This key technology demonstration on the Artemis I flight test will help prove its effectiveness for future manned missions,” NASA wrote alongside the photos.

It added: “Orion also passed the landing sites of Apollo 11, 12 and 14 and is on its way to a distant retrograde orbit, a high-altitude orbit that moves Orion in the opposite direction in which the moon travels around the Earth.⁣”

What is Artemis I?

The Artemis program is perhaps NASA’s most intensive project in recent memory. If Artemis I ultimately succeeds, Artemis II will see the same systems piloted by a crew of four astronauts. Artemis III – currently scheduled for 2024 – would then return astronauts to the moon for the first time since Apollo 17 in 1972.

The SLS with Orion successfully launched earlier this week after a months-long delay due to a number of factors. If all goes according to plan, Orion will make its journey back to Earth before crashing in December.

“What an incredible sight to see NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft launch together for the first time. This unmanned flight test will push Orion to its limits in the rigors of deep space, helping us prepare for human exploration on the Moon and, eventually, Mars,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said of the launch.

“It’s taken a lot of effort to get here, but Orion is now on its way to the moon,” added Jim Free, NASA’s deputy assistant administrator for the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate. “This successful launch means that NASA and our partners are on track to explore further into space than ever before for the benefit of humanity.”

Check out our ComicBook Invasion hub here for more Artemis 1 and other cosmic stories.

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