Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Messenger departing Earth

The Messenger spacecraft on its way to Mercury flew back past Earth on August 2nd, 2005, and produced this wonderful movie while departing Earth. In 24 hours it moved from about 5 Earth diameters distance to past the Moon's orbit (which is about 30 Earth diameters away). You can see the spacecraft's long low-energy trajectory here. Click on the image above to get the movie.
Why I am posting this? Phil Plait's probably going to mention it, and the movie has been sitting on my "post about" pile for a while.

P.S. Here's the original source for the movie:

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