What the Earth looks like at an altitude of 350 km: NASA spacecraft took rare pictures of the planet (photo)

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What the Earth looks like at an altitude of 350 km: NASA spacecraft took rare pictures of the planet (photo)

The Lucy spacecraft made the first close flyby of the Earth and sent incredible images of our planet from space.

Last week, an apparatus designed to study Jupiter's Trojan asteroids, as well as one space rock in the main asteroid belt, flew over Earth at an altitude of just 350 km to pick up speed for further flight. After that, “Lucy” made a series of amazing images of our planet from space, writes Forbes.

As Focus already wrote, the Lucy spacecraft made the first of three orbits of the Earth in order to to pick up speed for further space travel. This flyby was observed by scientists from NASA, and astronomy enthusiasts also had such an opportunity with the help of the Virtual Telescope project.

What the Earth looks like at an altitude of 350 km: NASA spacecraft took rare pictures of the planet (photo)

What the Earth looks like at an altitude of 350 km: NASA spacecraft took rare pictures of the planet (photo)

This spacecraft, as part of its mission, which will last 12 years, will study several Trojan asteroids, which revolve around the Sun in the vicinity of Jupiter, as well as one asteroid from the main asteroid belt.

What the Earth looks like at an altitude of 350 km: NASA spacecraft took rare pictures of the planet (photo)

What the Earth looks like at an altitude of 350 km: NASA spacecraft took rare pictures of the planet (photo)

Scientists believe that these Trojan asteroids are remnants of an ancient planetary formation at the very beginning of the formation of the solar system. They have never been studied by any spacecraft, so this mission is very important for understanding the history of nearby space

During a close flyby of the Earth, the Lucy apparatus approached our planet from the side of the Sun, and therefore it managed to capture ” complete” Earth, as well as the Moon.

What the Earth looks like at an altitude of 350 km: NASA spacecraft took rare pictures of the planet (photo)

What the Earth looks like at an altitude of 350 km: NASA spacecraft took rare pictures of the planet (photo)

Using these images, scientists can check the performance of the cameras and devices of the device to be sure of the best quality of data that will be collected in the study of asteroids.

In 2024, Lucy will make the second of three planned flybys of Earth and head towards the main asteroid belt, where it will study a space rock called Donaldjohanson. After that, he will fly to explore the Trojan asteroids of Jupiter:

  • Eurybat and his satellite Quetu;
  • Polymelus and his as yet unnamed satellite, which was discovered quite recently, as I already wrote < em>Focus;
  • Levk;
  • and Orus.

After the third flyby of the Earth in 2030, the Lucy spacecraft will go to explore the Trojan asteroids Patroclus and Menetius.

What the Earth looks like at an altitude of 350 km: NASA spacecraft took rare pictures of the planet (photo)

What the Earth looks like at an altitude of 350 km: NASA made rare pictures of the planet (photo)

As for the name of the device, it got its name in honor of the famous Australopithecus Lucy, 3.2 million years old, whose skeleton was discovered in 1974 in Africa by paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson. By the way, the name of this scientist was given to the asteroid to which the spacecraft will fly.

According to scientists, “Lucy” will circle the Sun 6 times during its journey in space, but at the end of the mission it will continue to fly between the Trojan asteroids and the Earth for millions of years.

That is why there is a special disk on board the device with a message for future space explorers who will one day meet this device.

More details about what Focus has already written about the Trojan asteroids of Jupiter and what kind of information Lucy carries for future descendants.

As for images of the Earth from space , then, as Focus already wrote, satellites captured the moment the moon's shadow passed over the Earth during a recent solar eclipse.