Washington: The US space agency NASA has released a striking unique photo of Earth taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a spacecraft that has been orbiting the moon since 2009.
According to NASA, the high resolution Earthrise image was captured from the spacecraft's vantage point in orbit around the moon.
“The image is simply stunning,” said Noah Petro, Deputy Project Scientist for LRO at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The image of the Earth evokes the famous 'Blue Marble' image taken by Astronaut Harrison Schmitt during Apollo 17, 43 years ago, which also showed Africa prominently in the picture.”
This image was composed from a series of images taken October 12, when LRO was about 83 miles (134 kilometers) above the moon's farside crater Compton.
The composite image shows the Earth with Africa, Saudi Arabia and South America in view. Also visible on the moon in the picture is a crater named Compton, which is located just beyond the eastern limb of the moon, on the lunar farside.
NASA's first Earthrise image was taken with the Lunar Orbiter 1 spacecraft in 1966. And the agency's most iconic Earthrise photo was taken by the crew of the Apollo 8 mission as the spacecraft entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve December 24, 1968.