NASA has reached yet another milestone in the Artemis 1 mission to send Orion around the Moon and test the capsule’s survivability in space. Earlier today, Orion approached the Moon, losing signal as it completed its Lunar flyby. With Orion’s lunar flyby behind it, the spacecraft will not settle into a distant retrograde orbit to test its systems before heading back home.
Orion is the culmination of years of work from NASA engineers as well as commercial and international partners. And, with the space capsule’s launch earlier this month, we’ve been waiting to see how the mission would go. Though we still have a way to go, seeing Orion complete its lunar flyby is exceptionally exciting.
And, as the space capsule plans to move into its week-long orbit around the Moon at the end of the week, we’re excited to see exactly how well the instruments and particulars work on the capsule. If Orion is successful in its mission, we’ll be one step closer to putting humans back on the Moon. And, from there, perhaps we could see Orion’s lunar flyby leading to a manned mission to Mars in the future.
For the moment, though, all we have to go off of is a bit of video captured during Orion’s lunar flyby, which isn’t anything to scoff at, especially considering we haven’t put a spacecraft designed for humans this close to the Moon in over 50 years.
If you haven’t kept up with the launch of Artemis I last week, then you might have also missed out on this stunning view of Earth captured by Orion as it left our planet behind. It’s crazy to think about how far we have come toward putting human boots back on the Moon, especially with all the advancements we have seen in space technology in recent years.
To have this possibility actually be semi-reachable now, though, feels almost like something out of a science fiction movie. Hopefully, this completion of Orion’s lunar flyby is just the start of a blooming exploration of the Moon that ends with a colony on the lunar surface.
Related coverage: Images of the Orion Constellation tell the tale of death and dust.