The record distance from the Orion spacecraft to the Earth allows you to capture wonderful views. NASA has shared a photo taken by the Artemis I mission spacecraft, which shows the Earth and the Moon together in the distance. Like some of the Apollo photos or Voyager 1’s “pale blue dot,” this view demonstrates that humanity’s home, Earth, is just a small planet in the vastness of space.
“Orion” took a picture from a distance of 432,210 km from the Earth. This is the longest distance flown by any potentially manned spacecraft – more than Apollo 13’s record of 400-171 km set in 1970. Such a flight range was achieved thanks to the use of the moon’s gravity. Other photos of “Orion”:
The spaceship carries on board one mannequin and two artificial bodies with sensors for determining the level of radiation. The dummy is named after Arthur Campos, a NASA engineer who was instrumental in bringing the Apollo 13 crew home after the spacecraft exploded. The mannequin that takes the spaceship’s commander’s seat has been weighted down to mimic a human. He is wearing the same spacesuit that the Artemis astronauts will wear. The commander’s seat is equipped with acceleration and vibration sensors that give an idea of overload during launch and reentry.
The two bodies are part of an experiment on radiation protection measures. Named Helga and Zohar, they mimic the physique of an adult man and woman. Artificial bodies have built-in detectors that will show which organs and areas of the body will be exposed to the most radiation. One of the torsos, Zohar, wears a radiation protection vest called AstroRad, which protects vital organs from radiation but allows the astronauts to move freely. Data from both bodies is compared to see how effective the vest is.
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Artemis flight exceeds NASA’s expectations. So far, the mission team has completed only 31 of the 124 primary tasks, but new objectives have been added, such as advanced engine testing. Some of the planned experiments will be considered completed only after the device is returned.
On Monday, Orion reached the midpoint of its 25.5-day Artemis I mission, and will now continue to orbit the moon before returning to Earth.
The most risky phases of a space mission are launch and landing. On the eve of docking, the Orion spacecraft will move at a speed of 39,429 km/h. It will descend into the upper atmosphere and then rise again to slow down. It will then enter the atmosphere for descent at a speed of 27,359 km/h. The device will be slowed down by parachutes and will end its journey in the Pacific Ocean, where it will be picked up by ships of the US Navy.
Orion is expected to dock off the coast of San Diego on December 11. The Artemis program has faced numerous launch delays, with humans likely not landing on the moon until 2025 or 2026. Initially, NASA hoped for a landing in 2024.