All in a day's work

Look: Orion just sent back these haunting views of Earth from space

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Just five days after launching atop NASA’s SLS rocket, Artemis I reached the Moon — and completed a crucial part of its mission.

The Orion spacecraft made its first successful flyby of the Moon early Monday morning.

At its closest point, it was just 81 miles above the lunar surface.

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The maneuver included Orion’s outbound powered flyby burn, which propelled the spacecraft around the far side of the Moon.

Before and during its close encounter, Orion snapped haunting images of the lunar surface — and its home planet in the distance.

NASA

Here are 8 fascinating views from Orion’s approach:

NASA

From Orion’s view in deep space, the Earth could be seen in the background (bottom right) as the capsule extended one of its solar panels on Nov. 16.

NASA

7. Here’s Orion’s full view as it drifted farther and farther from its home planet.

NASA

6. There’s the Moon! A camera attached to one of Orion’s solar panels captured this shot on Nov. 20.

NASA

5. On the morning of Nov. 21, Orion was just 2,600 miles from the Moon’s surface.

NASA

4. Along for the ride was Commander Moonikin Campos, a manikin equipped with sensors to gather data on the flight experience for future human crews.

NASA

3. The Moon and Earth sit side by side from Orion’s perspective, less than 2000 miles above the lunar surface.

NASA

2. Orion passed behind the Moon, which severed its connection to Earth for a few minutes. This animation shows the orbiter’s position just a few hundred miles from the lunar surface.

NASA

NASA

1. Once it regained signal, Orion sent back this view of Earth. From 229,000 miles away, our home planet is a mere speck.