Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter brings 'earthrise' to everyone

April 20, 2012
Imagine yourself in orbit, your spacecraft flying backward with its small window facing down toward the surface of the moon. You peer out, scouring the ash-colored contours of the cratered landscape for traces of ancient volcanic activity. Around you, the silent, velvety blackness of space stretches out in every direction.

The spacecraft rolls over, and you glimpse a sliver of intense light starting to climb over the rough horizon. It might be dawn, except that the bright sliver quickly morphs into an arc of dazzling white swirled with vivid blue and then rises far enough to be recognized as the brilliant, marbled Earth. Captured on film, this breathtaking view becomes the iconic photograph "Earthrise."

On December 24, 1968, three people saw this happen firsthand: Apollo 8 Commander Frank Borman and crew members William A. Anders and James A. Lovell, Jr. Now, in honor of Earth Day 2012, the rest of us can see what that was like in a new NASA visualization, which draws on richly detailed maps of the moon's surface made from data gathered by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

"This visualization recreates for everyone the wondrous experience of seeing Earth from that privileged viewpoint," says LRO Project Scientist Rich Vondrak of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

At the time of the famous photo, Apollo 8 was rounding the moon for the fourth time, traveling in a nearly circular orbit about 110 kilometers (68 miles) above the moon's surface at about a mile per second. "The spacecraft was pointed down to look at the moon's surface, because Anders was conducting an extensive photographic survey," explains James Rice, an astrogeologist at Goddard. "But Lovell needed to perform a navigation sighting, so Borman rolled the spacecraft." That's when Earth abruptly appeared.

To recreate this scene, NASA animator Ernie Wright reconstructed the orbit in software, using coordinates from an Apollo 8 mission report and photographs taken by the crew. "Apollo 8 was at 11 degrees south latitude and between 118 and 114 east longitude, with a westward view," says Wright. "The floor of Pasteur crater is visible in the foreground of the photograph."

Wright rendered the crisp contours of the moonscape using high-resolution topography data from LRO's Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter, which has provided the most precise and complete maps to date of the moon's complex, heavily cratered terrain.

The Earth shown in the visualization is not an exact duplication of what the astronauts saw but a mosaic of more recent images taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (known as MODIS) instrument on the Terra satellite and assembled by NASA's Visible Earth team.

The narration in the visualization comes from the original audio recording of the Apollo 8 astronauts, their commentary on the task at hand interrupted as they react to the sudden sighting of Earth. "Oh my God!" an astronaut calls out. "Look at that picture over there!"

A black-and-white image is snapped with one of the Hasselblad cameras on board, capturing the very first picture of Earth taken by a human in orbit around the moon. The crew then scrambles to get a color picture, which is taken 58 seconds after the black-and-white photo.

The color image, which simultaneously captures Earth's bold vitality and its fragility, is later named "Earthrise" and has been reproduced countless times, including a U.S. postage stamp issued on May 5, 1969. This popularity earned the photo the featured spot on the cover of Life's book "100 Photographs that Changed the World," in which wilderness photographer Galen Rowell deemed it "the most influential environmental photograph ever taken."

###

LRO and LOLA were built and are managed by NASA Goddard. The research was funded by NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. The visualizations were created at Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio.

For more information on LRO and the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter, visit: http://lunar.gsfc.nasa.gov

For more information on Apollo 8, visit: http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/masterCatalog.do?sc=1968-118A

For more information about NASA's Visible Earth, visit: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=57735

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center



More Visible Earth Current Events and Visible Earth News Articles

Turkey invades Israel: Halfway to Armageddon (High Time to Awake Book 4)

Turkey invades Israel: Halfway to Armageddon (High Time to Awake Book 4)
by High Time to Awake


There is a battle brewing that will usher in the last days of the church on earth, and also the beginning of a terrible time of trouble for Israel and the entire world! This battle is not some far off event, but these armies are already amassed today!

According to Ezekiel chapter 38 Turkey will lead an Invasion into Israel along with Iran, Sudan, and Libya. All of these armies are fighting in Syria today.
In 734 BC the Assyrian empire invaded Syria and then turned south into northern Israel. The ancient Assyrian invasion is a model for our present day invasion into Syria and then Israel.

Assyria also invaded southern Israel in 701 BC. This time reaching all the way to the city limits of Jerusalem. This ancient Assyrian invasion is a model for the battle of...

Earth

Earth
by James F. Luhr (Editor)


In the best-selling tradition of Smithsonian Animal, this extraordinary survey of our planet provides unrivaled insight into the forces and processes that formed our environment and which continue to influence its evolution. With thousands of breathtaking photographs and unique visual catalogues of the features and phenomena that take place on Earth -- such as rocks, minerals, and mountains to tropical rain forests and the different types of clouds -- Earth contains the most up-to-date ideas on how our world works, a compelling review on the health of the planet, and unbelievable images of the world's most stunning features.

The Fall of Satan and Rise of the Antichrist: Essential End Time Bible Prophecy (High Time to Awake Book 1)

The Fall of Satan and Rise of the Antichrist: Essential End Time Bible Prophecy (High Time to Awake Book 1)
by High Time to Awake


The Fall of Satan and Rise of the Antichrist is my flagship book!

Some important bible prophecies are about to overtake us! This book corrects prophetic misconceptions. It also helps us to understand the season. Many teachers have said that Christ’s coming is eminent. But their accounts are too often generalized. This book identifies very specific milestones on the trail to Christ’s return that can be observed today.

Many prophecies are just now coming into focus. Such as the Turkish led invasion into Israel. We can only recognize these events as we examine scripture, and keep watch as they are happening! Essential reading for every christian!

This book is loaded with commentary on important bible prophecy. It explains how the revealing of the...

Visible Bones: Journeys Across Time in the Columbia River Country

Visible Bones: Journeys Across Time in the Columbia River Country
by Jack Nisbet (Author)


How can you know a place? Historian and naturalist Jack Nisbet—author of Sources of the River: Tracking David Thompson Across Western North America—looks to the relics of a region to connect the present moment to the distant past. In the vast Western territory defined by the Columbia River, Nisbet tracks the stories and meaning of relics such as a trilobite fossil that points to a tropical prehistoric ecology; the nearly extinct California condor, once the largest thing in the skies, described with amazement by Meriwether Lewis; the indelible stain of the smallpox pandemic that overcame the native peoples of the West; a rare and socially potent strain of indigenous wild tobacco that reveals the presence of vestigial Indian practices; and the remains of one Jaco Finlay, a...

The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet

The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet
by Robert M. Hazen (Author)


Hailed by The New York Times for writing “with wonderful clarity about science . . . that effortlessly teaches as it zips along,” nationally bestselling author Robert M. Hazen offers a radical new approach to Earth history in this intertwined tale of the planet’s living and nonliving spheres. With an astrobiologist’s imagination, a historian’s perspective, and a naturalist’s eye, Hazen calls upon twenty-first-century discoveries that have revolutionized geology and enabled scientists to envision Earth’s many iterations in vivid detail—from the mile-high lava tides of its infancy to the early organisms responsible for more than two-thirds of the mineral varieties beneath our feet. Lucid, controversial, and on the cutting edge of its field, The Story of Earth is popular...

The Late Great Planet Earth

The Late Great Planet Earth
by Hal Lindsey (Author), Carole C. Carlson (Contributor)


The impact of The Late Great Planet Earth cannot be overstated. The New York Times called it the "no. 1 non-fiction bestseller of the decade." For Christians and non-Christians of the 1970s, Hal Lindsey's blockbuster served as a wake-up call on events soon to come and events already unfolding -- all leading up to the greatest event of all: the return of Jesus Christ. The years since have confirmed Lindsey's insights into what biblical prophecy says about the times we live in. Whether you're a church-going believer or someone who wouldn't darken the door of a Christian institution, the Bible has much to tell you about the imminent future of this planet. In the midst of an out-of-control generation, it reveals a grand design that's unfolding exactly according to plan. The rebirth of Israel....

Earth Under Fire: Humanity's Survival of the Ice Age

Earth Under Fire: Humanity's Survival of the Ice Age
by Paul A. LaViolette Ph.D. (Author)


An investigation of the connection between ancient world catastrophe myths and modern scientific evidence of a galactic destruction cycle

• Provides scientific evidence of past Earth-wide catastrophes and their galactic superwave origins

• Decodes the ancient message encrypted in the zodiac constellations and symbolism of the Sphinx

• Describes how explosions of our Galaxy’s core pose a threat to humanity in the future

Many ancient myths from around the world tell of catastrophic destruction by fire and flood. These ubiquitous legends are so extreme that they are often dismissed as imaginative exaggerations. In Earth Under Fire, Paul LaViolette connects these "myths" to recent scientific findings in astronomy, geology, and archaeology to...

Basher Science: Planet Earth: What planet are you on?

Basher Science: Planet Earth: What planet are you on?
by Simon Basher (Author), Dan Gilpin (Author), Simon Basher (Illustrator)


Basher Science: Planet Earth, What planet are you on? Created & illustrated by Simon Basher, written by Dan Gilpin From Basher, the illustrator who showed the periodic table in a whole new light and gave us his fresh spin on physics, biology, astronomy and rocks and minerals, comes Planet Earth, a book that sheds light on this rock we live on, from its mountains and ocean depths to the storms that whirl around it.

God's Favorite Place on Earth

God's Favorite Place on Earth
by Frank Viola (Author)


When He came to earth, Jesus Christ was rejected in every quarter in which He stepped. The Creator was rejected by His own creation. “He came to His own and His own received Him not,” said John. For this reason, Jesus Christ had “no where to lay His head.” There was one exception, however. A little village just outside of Jerusalem named Bethany. Bethany was the only place on earth where Jesus was completely received.

God’s Favorite Place on Earth is a retelling of Jesus’ many visits to Bethany and a relaying of the message it holds for us today. Frank Viola presents a beautifully crafted narrative from the viewpoint of Lazarus, one of the people who lived in Bethany with his two sisters. This incomparable story not only brings the Gospel narratives to life, but it...

Earth, Spirit of Place: Featuring the Photographs of Chris Hadfield

Earth, Spirit of Place: Featuring the Photographs of Chris Hadfield
by John McQuarrie (Editor), Chris Hadfield (Editor), Walter Natynczyk (Editor)


Astronauts on board the International Space Station have many tasks, but a consistent favorite is taking photographs of Earth. The ISS astronauts don't just take digital images randomly. The photos they shoot are part of a well-defined program of data collection coordinated through the Crew Earth Observations team at Johnson Space Center. Current research targets include glaciers, deltas, urban areas, coral reefs, megafans (inland deltas), and long-term ecological monitoring sites. Dynamic events such as hurricanes, dust storms, volcanic eruptions, and fires are also imaged when possible.Astronauts also document the growth and change of human-made features, such as cities. The database of astronaut photography is freely accessible via the Internet and has made this book possible.   For...

© 2014 BrightSurf.com