Moon mission success! NASA Orion spacecraft enters lunar orbit

    NASA's Orion spacecraft was placed in lunar orbit Friday, officials said, as the much-delayed Moon mission proceeded successfully.
    By: AFP
    | Updated on: Nov 26 2022, 16:57 IST
    How well do you know Earth's Moon? How did it form, rotation, its orbit? Get up close and familiar- 5 points
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    1/5 How did the Moon form? According to the information provided by NASA, the leading theory behind the formation of the Moon is that a Mars-sized object collided with Earth billions of years ago, and debris from this collision eventually formed the Moon. (NASA)
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    2/5 Moon's rotation: The time it takes for the Moon to rotate once on its axis is equal to the time it takes for the Moon to orbit once around Earth. This keeps the same side of the Moon facing towards Earth throughout the month. (NASA)
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    3/5 Moon orbit Earth: According to NASA, the Moon takes about one month to orbit Earth (27.3 days to complete a revolution, but 29.5 days to change from New Moon to New Moon). As the Moon completes each 27.3-day orbit around Earth, both Earth and the Moon are moving around the Sun. Because of this change in position, sunlight appears to hit the Moon at a slightly different angle on day 27 than it does on day zero ― even though the Moon itself has already traveled all the way around Earth. It takes a little more than two additional days for sunlight to hit the Moon in the same way it did on day zero. This is why it takes 29.5 days to get from new moon to new moon, even though it doesn’t take quite that long for the Moon itself to travel once around Earth. (NASA)
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    4/5 Does the Moon have gravity? What would happen if there was no Moon? The Moon does have gravity. Because the Moon has less mass than Earth, its gravitational pull is weaker (about one-sixth of Earth’s). On the Moon, you will be able to jump about six times as high as you can on Earth ― but you would still come back down, informs NASA. Also, If there would be no Moon, Earth would be a very different world. The Moon’s gravity keeps our planet from wobbling on its axis too much, which helps to stabilize our climate. The Moon also plays an important role in creating tides in Earth’s oceans. (NASA)
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    5/5 Who Has Walked on the Moon? Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin were the first of 12 human beings to walk on the Moon. Four of America's moonwalkers are still alive: Aldrin (Apollo 11), David Scott (Apollo 15), Charles Duke (Apollo 16), and Harrison Schmitt (Apollo 17). In all, 24 American astronauts made the trip from Earth to the Moon between 1968 and 1972. Three astronauts made the journey from Earth to the Moon twice: James Lovell (Apollo 8 and Apollo 13), John Young (Apollo 10 and Apollo 16), and Gene Cernan (Apollo 10 and Apollo 17). (NASA)
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    This handout from NASA TV shows NASA's Orion spacecraft approaching the moon on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. (NASA via AP) (AP)

    NASA's Orion spacecraft was placed in lunar orbit Friday, officials said, as the much-delayed Moon mission proceeded successfully.

    A little over a week after the spacecraft blasted off from Florida bound for the Moon, flight controllers "successfully performed a burn to insert Orion into a distant retrograde orbit," the US space agency said on its web site.

    The spacecraft is to take astronauts to the Moon in the coming years -- the first to set foot on its surface since the last Apollo mission in 1972.

    This first test flight, without a crew on board, aims to ensure that the vehicle is safe.

    "The orbit is distant in that Orion will fly about 40,000 miles above the Moon," NASA said.

    While in lunar orbit, flight controllers will monitor key systems and perform checkouts while in the environment of deep space, the agency said.

    It will take Orion about a week to complete half an orbit around the Moon. It will then exit the orbit for the return journey home, according to NASA.

    On Saturday, the ship is expected to go up to 40,000 miles beyond the Moon, a record for a habitable capsule. The current record is held by the Apollo 13 spacecraft at 248,655 miles (400,171 km) from Earth.

    It will then begin the journey back to Earth, with a landing in the Pacific Ocean scheduled for December 11, after just over 25 days of flight.

    The success of this mission will determine the future of the Artemis 2 mission, which will take astronauts around the Moon without landing, then Artemis 3, which will finally mark the return of humans to the lunar surface.

    Those missions are scheduled to take place in 2024 and 2025, respectively.

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    First Published Date: 26 Nov, 16:53 IST
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