On October 16, NASA’s Lucy probe, on a journey to a collection of asteroids close to Jupiter, sailed by Earth and captured some breathtaking images of our planet and the moon before heading into deep space. The American space agency earlier this week made public the photos that Lucy’s cameras captured of the Earth and Moon as it flew within 224 miles (361 kilometres) of the planet, lower than the orbit of the International Space Station (ISS).
The tremendous distance between the Earth and the moon was underscored in the first of the two Earth photos, which Lucy captured on October 13. According to a news statement from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), the two bodies sitting at the frame’s opposite edges were approximately 890,000 km away.
The pictures displayed a viewpoint that was recognisable to spectators on Earth since they were obtained while Lucy was halfway between the Earth and the moon, at a distance of around 160,000 miles (260,000 km) from the moon.
In 2021, NASA’s Lucy probe was launched. It is the first mission to the two swarms of space rocks known as the Jupiter Trojan asteroids, which orbit the enormous planet alongside it.
The flyby earlier this month was the first of three such manoeuvres the spacecraft will perform to accelerate toward the Jupiter Trojans. Before departing for deep space in 2024, the spacecraft will conduct another near buzz of our globe, according to NASA. As it travels through a record-breaking number of asteroids over the course of its 12-year trip, Lucy will assess their diversity in search of hints about how the solar system formed.
(With inputs from agencies)
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