The spacecraft, launched last week, arrived at the moon on Monday. Orion overtook the celestial body at an altitude of 130 kilometers.
During the flyby, Orion captured a large number of sharp black and white images with its optical navigation camera. The photos show the scarred lunar surface, cratered by impacts from space rocks.
The navigation camera took pictures of the earth and the moon at different times and distances. In this way, NASA tests the effectiveness of the navigation camera under different lighting conditions. The findings will be used to streamline navigation of future manned space missions to the moon.
On Friday, the Orion spacecraft will be launched into a high orbit around the moon. Hopefully, the capsule will remain in lunar orbit for about a week. On Dec. 11, the spacecraft is expected to return to Earth with a dive into the Pacific Ocean off the California coast.
The space mission is known as Artemis I. The mission is meant to test all systems.
The next Artemis missions, scheduled to begin in 2024, will also include manned space travel to the moon. In 2025, man will have to set foot on the moon for the first time since 1972.