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

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

The Fall of Satan and Rise of the Antichrist: Essential End Time Bible Prophecy (High Time to Awake) (Volume 1)
by Craig C. White (Author), Gustave Dore (Illustrator), US Fish and Wildlife Service (Illustrator), The Visible Earth (Illustrator), oren neu dag (Illustrator), Monasosh (Illustrator), Nicolas Lannuzel (Illustrator)


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!

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

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...

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness
by William Styron (Author)


A work of great personal courage and a literary tour de force, this bestseller is Styron's true account of his descent into a crippling and almost suicidal depression. Styron is perhaps the first writer to convey the full terror of depression's psychic landscape, as well as the illuminating path to recovery.

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

Turkey invades Israel: Halfway to Armageddon (High Time to Awake) (Volume 4)
by Craig C. White (Author), Blue letter bible (Illustrator), Sadalmelik (Illustrator), The Visible Earth NASA (Illustrator), Freedom House (Illustrator)


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...

The Visible World

The Visible World
by Mark Slouka (Author)


The Visible World is an evocative, powerfully romantic novel about a son's attempt to understand his mother's past, a search that leads him to a tragic love affair and the heroic story of the assassination of a high-ranking Nazi by the Czech resistance.
The narrator of The Visible World, the American-born son of Czech immigrants living in New York, grows up in an atmosphere haunted by fragments of a past he cannot understand. At the heart of that past is his mother, Ivana, a spontaneous, passionate woman drifting ever closer to despair. As an adult, the narrator travels to Prague, hoping to learn about a love affair between his then young mother and a member of the resistance named Tomas, an affair whose untimely end, he senses, lay behind Ivana's unhappiness. Ultimately unable to...

Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite: A New Operational Cloud Imager

Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite: A New Operational Cloud Imager
by Keith D. Hutchison (Author), Arthur P. Cracknell (Author)


The Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) is the next-generation multispectral imaging instrument to fly on US operational, polar-orbiting meteorological satellites. VIIRS will gather data across 22 spectral bands and be used to create products for a variety of applications including weather forecasting and climate change studies. VIIRS consolidates the best features of heritage instruments, including near-constant resolution and nighttime visible imagery. Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite: A New Operational Cloud Imager provides the first comprehensive guide on the design and exploitation of cloud data collected by the VIIRS.

Expert researchers Hutchison and Cracknell discuss the fundamental principles necessary to interpret surface and cloud features in...

The Visible Man: A Novel

The Visible Man: A Novel
by Chuck Klosterman (Author)


New York Times bestselling author of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and Downtown Owl, “the Ethicist” of the New York Times Magazine, Chuck Klosterman returns to fiction with his second novel—an imaginative page-turner about a therapist and her unusual patient, a man who can render himself invisible.

Therapist Victoria Vick is contacted by a cryptic, unlikable man who insists his situation is unique and unfathomable. As he slowly reveals himself, Vick becomes convinced that he suffers from a complex set of delusions: Y__, as she refers to him, claims to be a scientist who has stolen cloaking technology from an aborted government project in order to render himself nearly invisible. He says he uses this ability to observe random individuals within their daily lives, usually when...

Under the Visible Life

Under the Visible Life
by Kim Echlin (Author)


 Fatherless Katherine carries the stigma of her mixed-race background through an era that is hostile to her and all she represents.  It is only through music that she finds the freedom to temporarily escape and dream of a better life for herself, nurturing this hard-won refuge throughout the vagaries of unexpected motherhood and an absent husband, and relying on her talent to build a future for her family. Orphaned Mahsa also grows up in the shadow of loss, sent to relatives in Pakistan after the death of her parents. Struggling to break free, she escapes to Montreal, leaving behind her first love, Kamal. But the threads of her past are not so easily severed, and she finds herself forced into an arranged marriage. For Mahsa, too, music becomes her solace and allows her to escape from...

The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business

The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business
by Alfred D. Chandler Jr. (Author)


The role of large-scale business enterprise--big business and its managers--during the formative years of modern capitalism (from the 1850s until the 1920s is delineated in this pathmarking book. Alfred Chandler, Jr., the distinguished business historian, sets forth the reasons for the dominance of big business in American transportation, communications, and the central sectors of production and distribution. The managerial revolution, presented here with force and conviction, is the story of how the visible hand of management replaced what Adam Smith called the invisible hand of market forces. Chandler shows that the fundamental shift toward managers running large enterprises exerted a far greater influence in determining size and concentration in American industry than...

Earth's Moon [Tubed] (National Geographic Reference Map)

Earth's Moon [Tubed] (National Geographic Reference Map)
by National Geographic Maps - Reference (Author)


National Geographic’s “The Earth’s Moon” is like having an atlas and almanac in one. This incredibly informative wall map features detailed depictions of the entire surface of the moon with a selective index showing the named physical features. Diagrams show the moon’s orbital paths, rotation around Earth, librations, how solar and lunar eclipses occur, and how the moon affects Earth’s tides. The phases of the moon are detailed along with the features visible in each phase. Craters, mountain ranges, highlands, seas, rays, and other physical features are described, as are the moon’s physical properties, moon lore, and more. Comparisons to the moons of other planets in our solar system and information on the Apollo Missions is included as well. This map is both an attractive...

© 2016 BrightSurf.com