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Take a Virtual Tour of NASA

Welcome to NASA! Today, we’re taking you behind-the-scenes for a virtual tour looking at our cutting-edge work and humanity’s destiny in deep space!

Starting at 1:30 p.m., we will host a series of Facebook Live events from each of our 10 field centers across the country. Take a look at where we’ll be taking you…

Glenn Research Center
1:30 p.m. EDT

Our Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH will host a tour of its Electric Propulsion Lab. This lab is where we test solar propulsion technologies that are critical to powering spacecraft for our deep-space missions. The Electric Propulsion Laboratory houses two huge vacuum chambers that simulate the space environment.

Marshall Space Flight Center
1:50 p.m. EDT

Our Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL will host a tour from a Marshall test stand where structural loads testing is performed on parts of our Space Launch System rocket. Once built, this will be the world’s most powerful rocket and will launch humans farther into space than ever before.

Stennis Space Center
2:10 p.m. EDT

Our Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, MS will take viewers on a tour of their test stands to learn about rocket engine testing from their Test Control Center.

Armstrong Flight Research Center
2:30 p.m. EDT 

Our Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, CA will host a tour from their aircraft hangar and Simulator Lab where viewers can learn about our X-Planes program. What’s an X-Plane? They are a variety of flight demonstration vehicles that are used to test advanced technologies and revolutionary designs.

Johnson Space Center
2:50 p.m. EDT

Our Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX will take viewers on a virtual exploration trip through the mockups of the International Space Station and inside our deep-space exploration vehicle, the Orion spacecraft!

Ames Research Center
3:10 p.m. EDT

Our Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley will bring viewers into its Arc Jet Facility, a plasma wind tunnel used to simulate the extreme heat of spacecraft atmospheric entry.

Kennedy Space Center
3:30 p.m. EDT

Our Kennedy Space Center in Florida will bring viewers inside the Vehicle Assembly Building to learn about how we’re preparing for the first launch of America’s next big rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

Langley Research Center
3:50 p.m. EDT

Our Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia will bring viewers inside its 14-by-22-foot wind tunnel, where aerodynamic projects are tested.

Goddard Space Flight Center
4:10 p.m. EDT

Our Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD will discuss the upcoming United States total solar eclipse and host its tour from the Space Weather Lab, a large multi-screen room where data from the sun is analyzed and studied.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4:30 p.m. EDT

Our Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA will bring viewers to the Spacecraft Assembly Facility to learn about robotic exploration of the solar system.

So, make sure to join us for all or part of our virtual tour today, starting at 1:30 p.m. EDT! Discover more about the work we’re doing at NASA and be sure to ask your questions in the comment section of each Facebook Live event! 

Additional details and viewing information available HERE

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historic meatballs, revisited

Fix’d my meatball ‘master’ file, went looking all over for a font I couldn’t name, but knew I had to have as I’d seen it all over dated articles and publications from NASA and others in the 1960s, found out it’s called ‘Alternate Gothic No.1’ and it’s perfect.

Celebrating 17 Years of NASA’s ‘Little Earth Satellite That Could’

The satellite was little— the size of a small refrigerator; it was only supposed to last one year and constructed and operated on a shoestring budget — yet it persisted.

After 17 years of operation, more than 1,500 research papers generated and 180,000 images captured, one of NASA’s pathfinder Earth satellites for testing new satellite technologies and concepts comes to an end on March 30, 2017. The Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite will be powered off on that date but will not enter Earth’s atmosphere until 2056. 

“The Earth Observing-1 satellite is like The Little Engine That Could,” said Betsy Middleton, project scientist for the satellite at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. 

To celebrate the mission, we’re highlighting some of EO-1’s notable contributions to scientific research, spaceflight advancements and society. 

Scientists Learn More About Earth in Fine Detail

This animation shifts between an image showing flooding that occurred at the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers on January 12, 2016, captured by ALI and the rivers at normal levels on February 14, 2015 taken by the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8. Credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory  

EO-1 carried the Advanced Land Imager that improved observations of forest cover, crops, coastal waters and small particles in the air known as aerosols. These improvements allowed researchers to identify smaller features on a local scale such as floods and landslides, which were especially useful for disaster support. 

On the night of Sept. 6, 2014, EO-1’s Hyperion observed the ongoing eruption at Holuhraun, Iceland as shown in the above image. Partially covered by clouds, this scene shows the extent of the lava flows that had been erupting.

EO-1’s other key instrument Hyperion provided an even greater level of detail in measuring the chemical constituents of Earth’s surface— akin to going from a black and white television of the 1940s to the high-definition color televisions of today. Hyperion’s level of sophistication doesn’t just show that plants are present, but can actually differentiate between corn, sorghum and many other species and ecosystems. Scientists and forest managers used these data, for instance, to explore remote terrain or to take stock of smoke and other chemical constituents during volcanic eruptions, and how they change through time.  

Crowdsourced Satellite Images of Disasters   

EO-1 was one of the first satellites to capture the scene after the World Trade Center attacks (pictured above) and the flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. EO-1 also observed the toxic sludge in western Hungary in October 2010 and a large methane leak in southern California in October 2015. All of these scenes, which EO-1 provided quick, high-quality satellite imagery of the event, were covered in major news outlets. All of these scenes were also captured because of user requests. EO-1 had the capability of being user-driven, meaning the public could submit a request to the team for where they wanted the satellite to gather data along its fixed orbits. 

This image shows toxic sludge (red-orange streak) running west from an aluminum oxide plant in western Hungary after a wall broke allowing the sludge to spill from the factory on October 4, 2010. This image was taken by EO-1’s Advanced Land Imager on October 9, 2010. Credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory

 Artificial Intelligence Enables More Efficient Satellite Collaboration

This image of volcanic activity on Antarctica’s Mount Erebus on May 7, 2004 was taken by EO-1’s Advanced Land Imager after sensing thermal emissions from the volcano. The satellite gave itself new orders to take another image several hours later. Credit: Earth Observatory

EO-1 was among the first satellites to be programmed with a form of artificial intelligence software, allowing the satellite to make decisions based on the data it collects. For instance, if a scientist commanded EO-1 to take a picture of an erupting volcano, the software could decide to automatically take a follow-up image the next time it passed overhead. The Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment software was developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and was uploaded to EO-1 three years after it launched. 

This image of Nassau Bahamas was taken by EO-1’s Advanced Land Imager on Oct 8, 2016, shortly after Hurricane Matthew hit. European, Japanese, Canadian, and Italian Space Agency members of the international coalition Committee on Earth Observation Satellites used their respective satellites to take images over the Caribbean islands and the U.S. Southeast coastline during Hurricane Matthew. Images were used to make flood maps in response to requests from disaster management agencies in Haiti, Dominican Republic, St. Martin, Bahamas, and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The artificial intelligence software also allows a group of satellites and ground sensors to communicate and coordinate with one another with no manual prompting. Called a “sensor web”, if a satellite viewed an interesting scene, it could alert other satellites on the network to collect data during their passes over the same area. Together, they more quickly observe and downlink data from the scene than waiting for human orders. NASA’s SensorWeb software reduces the wait time for data from weeks to days or hours, which is especially helpful for emergency responders. 

Laying the Foundation for ‘Formation Flying’

This animation shows the Rodeo-Chediski fire on July 7, 2002, that were taken one minute apart by Landsat 7 (burned areas in red) and EO-1 (burned areas in purple). This precision formation flying allowed EO-1 to directly compare the data and performance from its land imager and the Landsat 7 ETM+. EO-1’s most important technology goal was to test ALI for future Landsat satellites, which was accomplished on Landsat 8. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

EO-1 was a pioneer in precision “formation flying” that kept it orbiting Earth exactly one minute behind the Landsat 7 satellite, already in orbit. Before EO-1, no satellite had flown that close to another satellite in the same orbit. EO-1 used formation flying to do a side-by-side comparison of its onboard ALI with Landsat 7’s operational imager to compare the products from the two imagers. Today, many satellites that measure different characteristics of Earth, including the five satellites in NASA’s A Train, are positioned within seconds to minutes of one another to make observations on the surface near-simultaneously.

For more information on EO-1’s major accomplishments, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/celebrating-17-years-of-nasa-s-little-earth-satellite-that-could

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NASA's Cassini, Voyager missions suggest new picture of Sun's interaction with galaxy

New data from NASA’s Cassini mission, combined with measurements from the two Voyager spacecraft and NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, suggests that our sun and planets are surrounded by a giant, rounded system of magnetic field from the sun – calling into question the alternate view of the solar magnetic fields trailing behind the sun in the shape of a long comet tail.

The sun releases a constant outflow of magnetic solar material – called the solar wind – that fills the inner solar system, reaching far past the orbit of Neptune. This solar wind creates a bubble, some 23 billion miles across, called the heliosphere. Our entire solar system, including the heliosphere, moves through interstellar space. The prevalent picture of the heliosphere was one of comet-shaped structure, with a rounded head and an extended tail. But new data covering an entire 11-year solar activity cycle show that may not be the case: the heliosphere may be rounded on both ends, making its shape almost spherical. A paper on these results was published in Nature Astronomy on April 24, 2017.

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Check out the animation I’ve been working on all semester with Mica Bolanos, Nhi Luu and Elizabeth Martin for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center! See the concepts for the animation at my website: aliciarob.com

Maybe it’s a very small mirror and those are just tiny men.
(NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, searching further than ever seen, launching next year) (at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

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This Week @ NASA

Astronauts conduct a spacewalk on the International Space Station to prepare it for future activities. Peggy Whitson became the new women’s record holder for number of spacewalks and more!

International Space Station

Work continued aboard the International Space Station. Spacewalkers Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson used the station’s robotic arm to move the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 on March 24 to move a module to accommodate U.S. commercial spacecraft carrying astronauts on future missions. They continued this work on March 30. Another spacewalk to complete the work is slated for April.

James Webb Space Telescope

Engineers at our Goddard Space Flight Center Center complete vibration and acoustic tesing on the James Webb Space Telescope, which was subjected to earsplitting noice and shaken 50-100 times per second to simulate the rigors of launch.

MAVEN

Data from our MAVEN, our Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, and published in the journal Science, concludes that solar wind and radiation are responsible for stripping Mars of its atmosphere and turning it into the frigid desert world it is today.

Most of the gas ever in the Red Planet’s atmosphere has been lost to space. The MAVEN team focused on the gas argon, estimating that 65% of it has been stripped from the planet. In 2015, the science team determined that atmospheric gas continues to be lost to space.

STEM Education

We participated in a Women’s History Month celebration and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. The program feature NASA astronauts and engineers. The were also projects to get girls interested in sciene, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, education. There was also a screening of the film ‘Hidden Figures,’ which relates the story of African-American female mathematicians who were instrumental in the agency’s efforts to launch humans to space.

NASA App on Fire TV

We’ve released our latest free NASA app on a whole new platform–Amazon Fire TV! The app is already available for Apple TV, iOS, and Android.Viewers can stream NASA TV, access 16,000+, download video and more!

Download the app: www.nasa.gov/nasaapp

What the full episode of This Week @ NASA:

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Goddard Space Flight Center has published a beautiful photo gallery commemorating Hubble’s 25th anniversary. Goddard installed the telescope’s instruments as well as performed final pre-launch checkouts before being shipped towards NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for launch.

In the first and third images above, Hubble is seen undergoing testing at Goddard. The first photo is Hubble in the Vertical Assembly and Test Area and the second is Hubble undergoing final assembly at Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, California plant.

For more on Hubble’s 25th anniversary, click here.

Moon orbits third largest dwarf planet in our solar system

The combined power of three space observatories, including NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, has helped astronomers uncover a moon orbiting the third largest dwarf planet, catalogued as 2007 OR10. The pair resides in the frigid outskirts of our solar system called the Kuiper Belt, a realm of icy debris left over from our solar system’s formation 4.6 billion years ago.

With this discovery, most of the known dwarf planets in the Kuiper Belt larger than 600 miles across have companions. These bodies provide insight into how moons formed in the young solar system.

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Earth’s radiation belts, two doughnut-shaped regions of charged particles encircling our planet, were discovered more than 50 years ago, but their behavior is still not completely understood. Now, new observations from NASA’s Van Allen Probes mission show that the fastest, most energetic electrons in the inner radiation belt are not present as much of the time as previously thought. The results are presented in a paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research and show that there typically isn’t as much radiation in the inner belt as previously assumed — good news for spacecraft flying in the region.

The 3-dimensional radiation belt model in the visualizations above was constructed by propagating electron flux measurements, corresponding to a given time and distance from Earth measured by the Van Allen Probes, along a 3-dimensional structure of magnetic dipole field lines.

Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Tom Bridgman

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2017 Total Solar Eclipse’s Path Across the U.S.

A view of the United States during the total solar eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017, showing the umbra (black oval), penumbra (concentric shaded ovals) and path of totality (red). This version includes images of the sun, showing its appearance in a number of locations, each oriented to the local horizon.

Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

James Webb Space Telescope Mirror Seen in Full Bloom

It’s springtime and the deployed primary mirror of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope looks like a spring flower in full bloom.

In this photo, NASA technicians lifted the telescope using a crane and moved it inside a clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Once launched into space, the Webb telescope’s 18-segmented gold mirror is specially designed to capture infrared light from the first galaxies that formed in the early universe, and will help the telescope peer inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today.

Image credit: NASA / Desiree Stover

Of all the varieties of exploding stars, the ones called Type Ia are perhaps the most intriguing. Their predictable brightness lets astronomers measure the expansion of the universe, which led to the discovery of dark energy. Yet the cause of these supernovae remains a mystery. Do they happen when two white dwarf stars collide? Or does a single white dwarf gorge on gases stolen from a companion star until bursting?

If the second theory is true, the normal star should survive. Astronomers used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to search the gauzy remains of a Type Ia supernova in a neighboring galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud. They found a sun-like star that showed signs of being associated with the supernova. Further investigations will be needed to learn if this star is truly the culprit behind a white dwarf’s fiery demise.

This image, taken with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, shows the supernova remnant SNR 0509-68.7, also known as N103B. It is located 160,000 light-years from Earth in a neighboring galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud. N103B resulted from a Type Ia supernova, whose cause remains a mystery. One possibility would leave behind a stellar survivor, and astronomers have identified a possible candidate.

The actual supernova remnant is the irregular shaped dust cloud, at the upper center of the image. The gas in the lower half of the image and the dense concentration of stars in the lower left are the outskirts of the star cluster NGC 1850.

The Hubble image combines visible and near-infrared light taken by the Wide Field Camera 3 in June 2014.

Image credit:andnbsp;NASA, ESA and H.-Y. Chu (Academia Sinica, Taipei)
Text: Space Telescope Science Institute
Media contact: Rob Gutro, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Hubble Space Telescope

Time And Space

NASA's MAVEN reveals Mars has metal in its atmosphere

Mars has electrically charged metal atoms (ions) high in its atmosphere, according to new results from NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft. The metal ions can reveal previously invisible activity in the mysterious electrically charged upper atmosphere (ionosphere) of Mars.

“MAVEN has made the first direct detection of the permanent presence of metal ions in the ionosphere of a planet other than Earth,” said Joseph Grebowsky of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Because metallic ions have long lifetimes and are transported far from their region of origin by neutral winds and electric fields, they can be used to infer motion in the ionosphere, similar to the way we use a lofted leaf to reveal which way the wind is blowing.” Grebowsky is lead author of a paper on this research appearing April 10 in Geophysical Research Letters.

MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission) is exploring the Martian upper atmosphere to understand how the planet lost most of its air, transforming from a world that could have supported life billions of years ago into a cold desert planet today. Understanding ionospheric activity is shedding light on how the Martian atmosphere is being lost to space, according to the team.

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Webb Telescope Passes Important Optical Test on This Week @NASA – May 5, 2017

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has successfully passed the center of curvature test at Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Md. This important optical measurement of Webb’s fully assembled primary mirror was the final test held at Goddard before the telescope is shipped off for end-to-end cryogenic testing at Johnson Space Center in Houston. When that’s complete, the world’s most advanced observatory goes to Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, California, for final assembly and testing. Webb is targeted for launch in 2018 on a mission to help unravel some of the greatest mysteries of the universe.

Observatories Combine to Crack Open the Crab Nebula

Astronomers have produced a highly detailed image of the Crab Nebula, by combining data from telescopes spanning nearly the entire breadth of the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves seen by the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to the powerful X-ray glow as seen by the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory. And, in between that range of wavelengths, the Hubble Space Telescope’s crisp visible-light view, and the infrared perspective of the Spitzer Space Telescope.

The Crab Nebula, the result of a bright supernova explosion seen by Chinese and other astronomers in the year 1054, is 6,500 light-years from Earth. At its center is a super-dense neutron star, rotating once every 33 milliseconds, shooting out rotating lighthouse-like beams of radio waves and light – a pulsar (the bright dot at image center). The nebula’s intricate shape is caused by a complex interplay of the pulsar, a fast-moving wind of particles coming from the pulsar, and material originally ejected by the supernova explosion and by the star itself before the explosion.

This image combines data from five different telescopes: the VLA (radio) in red; Spitzer Space Telescope (infrared) in yellow; Hubble Space Telescope (visible) in green; XMM-Newton (ultraviolet) in blue; and Chandra X-ray Observatory (X-ray) in purple.

The new VLA, Hubble, and Chandra observations all were made at nearly the same time in November of 2012. A team of scientists led by Gloria Dubner of the Institute of Astronomy and Physics (IAFE), the National Council of Scientific Research (CONICET), and the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina then made a thorough analysis of the newly revealed details in a quest to gain new insights into the complex physics of the object. They are reporting their findings in the Astrophysical Journal.

“Comparing these new images, made at different wavelengths, is providing us with a wealth of new detail about the Crab Nebula. Though the Crab has been studied extensively for years, we still have much to learn about it,” Dubner said.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra’s science and flight operations.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the Spitzer Space Telescope for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

IMAGE….In the summer of the year 1054 AD, Chinese astronomers saw a new “guest star,” that appeared six times brighter than Venus. So bright in fact, it could be seen during the daytime for several months.

This “guest star” was forgotten about until 700 years later with the advent of telescopes. Astronomers saw a tentacle-like nebula in the place of the vanished star and called it the Crab Nebula. Today we know it as the expanding gaseous remnant from a star that self-detonated as a supernova, briefly shining as brightly as 400 million suns. The explosion took place 6,500 light-years away. If the blast had instead happened 50 light-years away it would have irradiated Earth, wiping out most life forms.

In the late 1960s astronomers discovered the crushed heart of the doomed star, an ultra-dense neutron star that is a dynamo of intense magnetic field and radiation energizing the nebula. Astronomers therefore need to study the Crab Nebula across a broad range of electromagnetic radiation, from X-rays to radio waves.

This image combines data from five different telescopes: the VLA (radio) in red; Spitzer Space Telescope (infrared) in yellow; Hubble Space Telescope (visible) in green; XMM-Newton (ultraviolet) in blue; and Chandra X-ray Observatory (X-ray) in purple.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington, D.C.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra’s science and flight operations.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, manages the Spitzer Space Telescope for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena, California. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

“The Earth From Here Is A Grand Oasis In The Big Vastness Of Space.“ - Jim Lovell

These words were spoken by Astronaut Jim Lovell aboard Apollo 8, in 1968.  This was the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit and then look back at the ‘Blue Marble’ that we call home.

Fast forward to today and images of our home planet are still awe inspiring to see. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently captured a unique view of Earth from the spacecraft’s vantage point in orbit around the moon.

"The image is simply stunning,” said Noah Petro, Deputy Project Scientist for LRO at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The image of the Earth evokes the famous ‘Blue Marble’ image taken by Astronaut Harrison Schmitt during Apollo 17, 43 years ago, which also showed Africa prominently in the picture.”

In this composite image we see Earth appear to rise over the lunar horizon from the viewpoint of the spacecraft, with the center of the Earth just off the coast of Liberia (at 4.04 degrees North, 12.44 degrees West). The large tan area in the upper right is the Sahara Desert, and just beyond is Saudi Arabia. The Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America are visible to the left. On the moon, we get a glimpse of the crater Compton, which is located just beyond the eastern limb of the moon, on the lunar farside.

LRO was launched on June 18, 2009, and has collected a treasure trove of data with its seven powerful instruments, making an invaluable contribution to our knowledge about the moon. LRO experiences 12 earthrises every day; however the spacecraft is almost always busy imaging the lunar surface so only rarely does an opportunity arise such that its camera instrument can capture a view of Earth. Occasionally LRO points off into space to acquire observations of the extremely thin lunar atmosphere and perform instrument calibration measurements. During these movements sometimes Earth (and other planets) pass through the camera’s field of view and dramatic images such as the one shown here are acquired.

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