Spacecraft are able to give us a very different perspective on our planet than we normally get., a dual-spacecraft mission, on the way to its ultimate destination of Mercury. It captured us in stark black and white as it went.
BepiColombo launched in October 2018 but came back for a visit this week to use Earth’s gravity to help steer it toward Mercury. The images it sent back are partly selfies and partly Earth portraits.
The spacecraft snuggled up pretty close to Earth, coming within 7,900 miles (12,700 kilometers). It spent 34 minutes in our planet’s shadow before emerging back into the light.
“These selfies from space are humbling, showing our planet, the common home that we share, in one of the most troubling and uncertain periods many of us have gone through,” Günther Hasinger, ESA’s director of science, said in a statement on Friday.
BepiColombo won’t reach Mercury until 2025. The spacecraft’s short goodbye to Earth is just the next step in a very long mission. but it left us with some lovely views of our planet as a farewell gift.