In a new spectacular image captured by a NASA spacecraft, the Earth has been found to rise above the moon’s surface. This new high-resolution photograph has been taken by the American space agency’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter or LRO.
The image shows our planet’s blue marble suspended over the cratered, rocky lunar horizon. Noah Petro, the deputy project scientist of LRO, said that this newly captured image is absolutely stunning.
It’s true that this new photo shows our planet rising above the moon (in the same way the moon rises above the Earth), but that’s actually is not what you would have seen if you were located on the moon’s nearside.
This is because one side of the moon, which we refer to as the satellite’s near side, always remains facing the Earth (from the perspective of objects on the planet) because of an effect called tidal locking.
Here, it must be mentioned that the Earth actually never sets or rises from the perspective of the moon. What this means is that the moon takes an equal amount of time for rotating on its own axis as it requires for orbiting the Earth. According to NASA, our planet is constantly seen in a particular part of the horizon from its natural satellite’s nearside.
Mark Robinson, a NASA scientist associated with the agency’s LRO mission, said that it’s true that our planet doesn’t move across the horizon, but that doesn’t mean that its view is static. He continued by saying that future astronauts will be seeing continents on this planet rotating in and out of view, and there will always be the ever-changing cloud patterns to catch one’s attention, particularly on the nearside.
The new image captured by the LRO is the most recent addition to the series of Earthrise photographs showing our planet from perspectives of robots and people who are located far away from it.
For those who don’t know: the Earthrise image that has enjoyed maximum popularity to date is a photo featuring a crescent earth above the surface of the moon. It was captured by the astronauts onboard the Apollo 8 way back on December 24, 1968.
NASA said that LRO witnesses as many as 12 Earthrises each day, but manages to capture such events very rarely as it always stays busy with imaging of the lunar surface.