NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid-sampling spacecraft captured this photo of Earth on Sept. 22, 2017, shortly after performing a speed-boosting flyby of our planet.
On Friday (Sept. 22), OSIRIS-REx zoomed 10,711 miles (17,237 kilometers) above Antarctica, acing a “gravity-assist” flyby designed to boost its speed and set its course toward a near-Earth asteroid called Bennu.
The probe took the newly released photo a few hours after that closest approach, when it was about 106,000 miles (170,000 km) from Earth, NASA officials said.
“The dark vertical streaks at the top of the image are caused by short exposure times (less than three milliseconds),” NASA officials wrote in an image description Tuesday (Sept. 26). “Short exposure times are required for imaging an object as bright as Earth, but are not anticipated for an object as dark as the asteroid Bennu, which the camera was designed to image.” – Space.com
Featured image by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/University of Arizona