(NewsNation) — NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which launched last Wednesday, has started sending back images as it enters the moon’s vicinity.
The Orion capsule is part of the Artemis I mission, which is the first in a series of missions that are intended to eventually establish a lunar outpost. The objective of this particular mission is for Orion to circumnavigate the moon and then splash down back on earth in early December.
The path the spacecraft is taking is intended to “stress test” the vessel; although it’s capable of carrying astronauts, Orion is filled only with inanimate objects during this journey.
The Artemis II mission, which is expected to launch in 2024 at the earliest, will include astronauts riding in the Orion spacecraft to collect additional data. The third Artemis mission may be launched as early as 2025, and will mark the first time astronauts have landed on the moon’s surface in decades.