spaceSpace and Physics

Orion’s New Views Of The Moon And Earth Are Breathtaking

From up close and far away, the Moon has never looked more incredible.


Dr. Alfredo Carpineti


Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

Alfredo (he/him) has a PhD in Astrophysics on galaxy evolution and a Master's in Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces.

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

A partially shadowed moon with regions in the far sides and regions in the near side visible.

Orion's view of the Moon, including areas that humans don't usually see. Image credit: NASA

Orion has just completed half of its mission and got the furthest it will ever get away from Earth. And in these last two weeks, it has brought us stunning views of the Moon – some up close and some of the whole Moon-Earth system, all of them spectacular. NASA has shared some of them on its Flickr page.

Many of the images were taken by the cameras mounted on the solar panels. These allow the mission team to monitor the health of the spacecraft. This mission, known as Artemis I, is uncrewed and it is a testbed for the Orion spacecraft to make sure that it will be safe for astronauts, once they travel in it.


Orion also uses its Optical Navigation Camera to take pictures of the surface of the Moon. This device will be used in the future to better orient the spacecraft during crewed missions. It is being tested now by taking pictures of the Earth and Moon in different lighting conditions and at different distances. That data is not relevant to us, but we can enjoy the spectacular views of the Moon that were captured by the instrument.

On the left hand side of the pictures the edge of the moon is visible with some deep craters clearly seen at an angle
Image of the edge of the lunar disk, where craters are clearly visible. Image credit: NASA

The mission has a length of over 25 days. Orion is expected to splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego, at 12:40 pm EST on December 11. The mission has so far been extremely successful and, all being well, this is the first step in a long-lasting Artemis program. The next planned mission – Artemis II – will be crewed, and it is expected to launch in two years’ time.


spaceSpace and Physics
  • tag
  • nasa,

  • moon,

  • earth,

  • Orion,

  • space photography,

  • lunar orbit,

  • Artemis I