NASA CubeSat photo shows Earth and the moon from 621,371 miles away

NASA CubeSat photo shows Earth and the moon from 621,371 miles away

mars cubesat one satellite insight nasa jpl caltech
A NASA engineer exams a Mars Cube One (MarCO) satellite tv for pc earlier than launch.
NASA/JPL-Caltech


The horizon appears to stretch towards infinity on Earth’s floor, the place the overwhelming majority of us will spend our whole lives.

But pictures from area do not lie about the actual stature of our residence planet.

Earth is a puny, insignificant speck that floats in an infinite black void, and a brand new NASA photo is all the extra proof of this shifting (and perhaps depressing) reality of life.

The picture was taken from a distance of about 621,371 miles (1 million kilometers) away, by a tiny satellite tv for pc that is at present on its option to Mars.

When NASA’s InSight lander launched on May 5, it was accompanied by two similar, backpack-size satellites collectively known as Mars Cube One, or MarCO. MarCO-A and MarCO-B are tiny, modular spacecraft generally known as “CubeSats,” and at present they’re formally the smallest satellites ever despatched previous the moon.

During a sequence of exams on May 9, MarCO-B — which engineers name “Wall-E” — took its first-ever photo so scientists might test that its antenna deployed accurately. In the ensuing picture, two acquainted objects seem: Earth and its moon.

A photo of Earth and the moon taken by MarCO-B about 1 million kilometers away from the planet.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

It’s straightforward to overlook the celestial companions in the image.

To assist us out, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory launched a labeled model that highlights Earth, the moon, and varied components of MarCO-B.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Capturing Earth and the moon in the photo was no accident.

NASA stated the picture is supposed to honor the “pale blue dot” photo proposed by famed physicist Carl Sagan and taken by the Voyager spacecraft in 1990.

“Consider it our homage to Voyager,” Andy Klesh, MarCO’s chief engineer at NASA-JPL, stated in a press release about the picture. “CubeSats have never gone this far into space before, so it’s a big milestone. Both our CubeSats are healthy and functioning properly. We’re looking forward to seeing them travel even farther.”

The MarCO satellites are designed to check the advantages of launching CubeSats in deep area.

If at the very least one MarCO satellite tv for pc safely reaches the pink planet, it might assist scientists on Earth get higher, faster details about the InSight spacecraft’s try to descend towards and land on the Martian floor.

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