The recent capture of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)reminds me of the famous Blue Marble but having something special this time – it seemed like the earth is rising from the moon’s surface. The LRO’s Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) and Wide Angle Camera (WAC) captured a series of black and white and colored photos on October 12th.
The spacecraft was traveling 83 miles above a lunar crater called Compton at the time. It had to roll to its side to be able to take the images it needed. It was moving faster than ever; faster than 3580 mph.
According to a report by NASA, the pictures were not single shots. Rather they were a composite of the high-resolution images taken by the NAC and the colored ones taken by the WAC. Though LRO can see a thousand pictures every day, it doesn’t capture them frequently. The reason being – the process itself is complicated. The spacecraft has to snap images while it’s moving, and while the Earth and the moon are also in motion.
Lunar Orbiter focuses on the moon’s surface, not on the earth’s surface. It just happened that in October. The Earth was in the cameras’ field of view while they were pointing into space to calibrate, allowing them to capture this stunning view of our planet.