Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter snaps spectacular "Earthrise" image
NASA has released astunning image of an Earthrise captured from the perspective of theagency's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The bottom half of theimage displays the bleak yet enchanting lunar surface, whilst theupper portion captures Earth's fragile disk swathed in white cloud.
The LRO was launched in2009 atop an Atlas V rocket with a mission to characterize Earth'sclosest celestial partner with a suite of seven advanced scientificinstruments. The LRO experiences Earth rise 12 times a day, yet images of our planet snapped from the satellite are relatively rare.This is a result of the satellite's scientific objectives, whichordinarily require a nose-down study of the lunar surface.
However, periodically theLRO needs to orientate itself to the Moon's horizon in order tocalibrate an instrument or snap a picture of the tenuous lunaratmosphere. During these rare interludes, the orbiter's cameras areoccasionally free to image the big blue marble that we call home.
The new image, whichwas snapped on October 12, is actually comprised of multiple shots takenby the satellite's high-resolution Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) andWide Angle Camera (WAC) camera. When compiling the image, high-resolution black-and-white shots from NAC were augmented by lower-resolution color images taken by WAC.The end result is a stunningimage highlighting the complex beauty of Earth, juxtaposed by thebarren, monotone lunar surface.