On its trip around the Moon this week, China’s lunar test probe, Chang’e 5TI, snapped this mind-bending image of the Earth and its satellite, putting the objects in a unique perspective. The photo is taken from just beyond lunar orbit, and it gives the illusion that the Moon is actually the more sizable of the two, and that Earth is the tiny orbiter.
The unmanned Chang’e 5TI is meant to test atmospheric re-entry technologies that will be used in China’s fourth lunar probe, Chang’e 5, which is set to launch in 2017. Chang’e 5TI launched on October 23. After whipping around the Moon, the probe is set to head back to Earth on October 31.
If successful, the upcoming Chang’e 5 spacecraft will be China’s first sample return mission from the Moon, with the aim of bringing back lunar soil and rocks for further analysis. China recently sent its first rover, named Yutu or “Jade Rabbit”, to the Moon. The country hopes to one day send its own astronauts up as well.
Little Earth, Big Moon