"Earth is getting awfully big in the window!"

To paraphrase a famous space movie, Earth was getting awfully big in the window of NASA’s last moon mission as it streaked towards our planet.

The Orion spacecraft ferried home epic live video of our home planet during the last hours of Artemis 1 during steering for splashdown today (Dec. 11).

The uncrewed mission was a shakedown cruise to prove the Artemis program is ready for humans, and Artemis 1 indeed clicked through all major milestones: a launch of the untested Space Launch System, orbiting the moon and surviving a high-speed re-entry to splash down in the Pacific Ocean near a recovery ship.

In photos: 10 greatest images from NASA’s Artemis 1 mission

behold! this is the last view of earth from space from nasa's artemis 1 orion (video)

The Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft catches a last glimpse of Earth as a full disc before splashdown on Dec. 1, 2022. (Image credit: NASA Television)

Orion is a human-rated spacecraft that flew further into space than previous record-holder Apollo 13, which hosted three astronauts that looped around the moon instead of landing due to a spacecraft emergency. (The movie quoted in this story’s first sentence was the eponymous “Apollo 13” from 1995 that starred Tom Hanks as commander Jim Lovell.)

Splashdown for Artemis 1 came during the anniversary of another Apollo program milestone: the landing date of Apollo 17, which was the last human mission to touch down on the moon so far on Dec. 11, 1972. NASA hopes to bring people to the surface again within three years.

Artemis 2 will come first, which will bring a crew around the moon to test the life support systems, as Artemis 1 did not host any on board the spacecraft. Providing that mission flies when scheduled in 2024, Artemis 3 is expected to follow and put astronauts back on the moon in 2025 or 2026.

NASA is also building out a supportive lunar space station called Gateway, which is not on the critical path to landing but will still provide a perch for human crews for future missions of Artemis. The agency plans to bring numerous missions to the surface, both crewed and uncrewed, in the 2020s and beyond.

Elizabeth Howell is the co-author of “Why Am I Taller (opens in new tab)?” (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book about space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).


Power on the Moon. What Will it Take to Survive the Lunar Night?

With the help of international and commercial partners, NASA is sending astronauts back to the Moon for the first time in over fifty years. In addition to sending crewed missions to the lunar surface, the long-term objective of the Artemis Program is to create the necessary infrastructure for a ...

View more: Power on the Moon. What Will it Take to Survive the Lunar Night?

Iwan Rhys Morus

Iwan Rhys Morus holds PhDs in the history and philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge. He has spent much of his career working on the history of science during the nineteenth century, including the development of new electrical technologies, the popular culture of science, and the history ...

View more: Iwan Rhys Morus

How do lie detectors work?

This article was first published on Big Think in October 2020. It was updated in December 2022. We all lie. Some might argue it’s human nature. In a 2002 study, 60% of people were found to lie at least once during a 10-minute conversation, with most people telling an ...

View more: How do lie detectors work?

How electricity stormed past steam and became the power of the future

Excerpted from HOW THE VICTORIANS TOOK US TO THE MOON, written by Dr. Iwan Rhys Morus and published by Pegasus Books. None of this happened by accident – and none of it happened as the result of acts of individual genius either. The business of electrification was a business, ...

View more: How electricity stormed past steam and became the power of the future

What is the true nature of our quantum reality?

When it comes to understanding the Universe, scientists have traditionally taken two approaches in tandem with one another. On the one hand, we perform experiments and make measurements and observations of what the results are; we obtain a suite of data. On the other hand, we construct theories and ...

View more: What is the true nature of our quantum reality?

Planetary Interiors in TRAPPIST-1 System Could be Affected by Solar Flares

In a recent study published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, an international team of researchers led by the University of Cologne in Germany examined how solar flares erupted by the TRAPPIST-1 star could affect the interior heating of its orbiting exoplanets. This study holds the potential to help us ...

View more: Planetary Interiors in TRAPPIST-1 System Could be Affected by Solar Flares

SpaceX’s last Starlink launch of 2022 is a bit of a mystery

In a strange twist, SpaceX says that its next Starlink mission will launch 54 satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO), implying that they’re roughly the same size as the V1.5 satellites it’s already launching – not the larger V2 or V2 Mini satellites hinted in recent FCC filings. However, ...

View more: SpaceX’s last Starlink launch of 2022 is a bit of a mystery

Is Mining in Space Socially Acceptable?

Traditional mining has been subject to a negative stigma for some time. People, especially in developed countries, have a relatively negative view of this necessary economic activity. Primarily that is due to its environmental impacts – greenhouse gas emissions and habitat destruction are some of the effects that give ...

View more: Is Mining in Space Socially Acceptable?

“Mad honey”: The rare hallucinogen from the mountains of Nepal

Fred Hogge

The history of ice, one of the first luxuries

Astronomy 2023: Top Sky Watching Highlights for the Coming Year

Are humans wired for conflict? Charles Darwin vs. "Lord of the Flies" - Big Think

What was the biggest explosion in the Universe?

Canada takes boldest stance on electric vehicles yet

Despite the low air Pressure, Wind Turbines Might Actually Work on Mars

NASA Makes Asteroid Defense a Priority, Moving its NEO Surveyor Mission Into the Development Phase

Lightweight Picogram-Scale Probes Could be the Best way to Explore Other Star Systems

World’s biggest cultivated meat factory is being built in the U.S.

Ndidi Akahara


Top Car News Car News