San Diego company whose cameras have been taking captivating images from the surface of Mars and the outer reaches of Jupiter has built on that success, using one of its imagers to photograph Earth and the moon from deep space.
The so-called NavCam 1 camera is attached to OSIRIS-REx, a NASA spacecraft that’s on a sample return mission to the asteroid Bennu.
NavCam1 is part of a three camera system designed and built by Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS), which also created imagers for the Mars Curiosity rover and Juno spacecraft, which is now orbiting Jupiter.
The OSIRIS-REx photo was part of an engineering test conducted on January 17th, when the spacecraft was nearly 40 million miles from Earth, and traveling at a speed of 19,000 mph, according to NASA.
The black-and-white image shows a white ball — the Earth — and a white speck, the moon.
“Several constellations are also visible in the surrounding space,” NASA said in a statement. “The bright cluster of stars in the upper left corner is the Pleiades in the Taurus constellation. Hamal, the brightest star in Aries, is located in the upper right corner of the image. The Earth-Moon system is centered in the middle of five stars comprising the head of Cetus the Whale.”