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spaceSpace and Physics

Telescopes Capture Orion On the Way Back From the Moon

The Artemis I mission is ending in a few days, but you can try and see it in the sky before then.

author

Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

author

Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

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

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockDec 8 2022, 16:52 UTC
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Orion is a small dot at the center of the black and white image. The image is the average of three 60-second exposures from different telescope, which tracked Orion’s apparent motion, For this reason the stars look like long trails while the probe is a sharp dot of light.

The Orion Spacecraft as seen from Earth over a 60-second exposure. Image credit: Gianluca Masi/The Virtual Telescope Project 

On Sunday, December 11, the Orion spacecraft will splash down in the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of California. It is now well on its way back to Earth, and people worldwide have been able to use telescopes to see the little vehicle as it returns to us.

The team at The Virtual Telescope Project managed to capture it as well, when the spacecraft was 382,000 kilometers (237,364 miles) away, roughly the average distance between Earth and the Moon. The Virtual Telescope will also do another live session on December 10, to catch it just before reentry. And it will be quite a reentry.

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Orion will attempt a skip reentry, the first time a human-grade vehicle will do such a maneuver. The craft will bounce on the atmosphere once like a pebble on a lake, before coming down at the specific point for recovery. The exact details for the splashdown will be shared by NASA in a press conference later tonight.

On Saturday, ahead of the splashdown, NASA will also reveal all the hidden Easter eggs inside Orion's capsule.  


spaceSpace and Physics
  • tag
  • moon,

  • Orion,

  • spacecraft,

  • telescope,

  • space travel,

  • Artemis I