As of recently, NASA shared spectacular Earthrise over Moon after researchers had compiled several high-resolution images taken by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) a couple of months ago.
In the recently released photo, we can see a sunlit side of our planet in the background and a desolated moonscape in the foreground, and the contrast is simply breathtaking. Noah Petro, a researcher involved in the LRO mission, recently noted that the composite image is ‘simply stunning.’
Petro added that the image brings back old memories of the spectacular ‘Blue Marble’ photo snapped by Apollo 17 astronauts more than four decades ago. Both pictures show the African continent prominently in the image.
But the photo also resembles the ‘Earthrise’ pic taken by crew members during the Apollo 8 mission when they entered the lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, 1968. Apollo 8 was the first human mission that managed to go beyond Earth’s orbit.
Former Vice President Al Gore said about about the 1968 picture that it inspired the modern-day conservationist movement worldwide. Gore explained that, after 18 months from the official release of the photograph, world celebrated the first Earth Day.
Additionally, the environmental awareness triggered by the breath-taking photo led to several pieces of legislation in the U.S. including the Clean Air Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
But that picture was not the first of its kind. Lunar Orbiter 1 had snapped the first ‘Earthrise’ a in 1966. Yet, that photo didn’t have a major impact since it was rendered in black and white.
NASA explained that the latest Earthrise photograph is the work of a team that managed to gather pictures from two of LRO’s optical instruments during its voyage around the moon. The photos were snapped over the course of a single day, on Oct. 12, from an 83-mile distance above the lunar soil. The orbiter was able to capture the Compton crater which is located on the natural satellite’s dark side which is never visible from Earth.
NASA researchers explained that we can never see the moon’s far side from ground because our planet and its moon are tidally locked. For the same reason, an astronaut that stands on the lunar surface could never experience and ‘Earthrise’ or an ‘Earthset.’ Astronauts that walked on the moon said that they could see the Earth, and continents moving on its surface, but it never changed its position on the sky.
The recent picture was posted on NASA’s official website on Dec. 18.
Image Source: Wikimedia