This Space Probe Captured an Epic Image of Earth


Image result for NASA's OSIRIS-REX spacecraft

NASA's OSIRIS-REX spacecraft is on its way to asteroid Bennu. It was launched just over a year ago, on September 8, 2016, but it needed only a small boost of Earth's gravity to follow its journey.

This impulse occurred on September 22nd, and the OSIRIS-REx team took the opportunity to test and calibrate the instrumentation of the spacecraft. And now that the data has been received, a beautiful and instant composition of Earth's colors has been published. OSIRIS-REX is at a distance of 170,000 kilometers.

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At the top of the image, dark vertical lines are caused by short exposure times. OSIRIS-REx instrumentation was built to record Bennu, which is much darker than Earth. To compensate for the earth's brightness, the camera had very short exposures. These lines should not appear in the Bennu images.

Without using the Earth's gravity as a sling, OSIRIS-REx would not be able to reach Bennu, where it will make history by returning with samples of the asteroid to Earth. The spacecraft uses the gravity of a planet to gain speed and to follow its path there. [ ScienceAlert ]

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