The small Italian CubeSat satellite ArgoMoon, which was launched with the SLS rocket of the Artemis I mission together with the Orion capsule, sent the signal new images of the moon and also one of our planet, taken 237,000 km from Earth.
What is ArgoMoon
ArgoMoon is the Italian Space Agency’s (ASI) CubeSat, developed by the Turin-based aerospace company Argotec, and it is the only European satellite of the ten accompanying the Artemis I mission launched on November 16th.
ArgoMoon is 30 x 20 x 10 cm, weighs almost 14 kg and looks similar to LICIACube, the satellite also built by Argotec for the DART mission, which took over 600 photos of the impact of the probe of the same name on the surface of the Dimorphos asteroid, to change its orbit.
The ArgoMoon cubesat was one of the first released during the Artemis I mission and initially tasked with monitoring the pre-SLS second stage (ICPS) detachment phase from its photographs.
Its mission, which will continue in heliocentric orbit, will include five approach maneuvers that will bring ArgoMoon to a minimum distance of 5,000 km from the moon. Great place to take photos from our satellite.
The photos of the moon and the magnificent of the earth
The ASI begins showing the first photos of the moon from ArgoMoon. The most recent are those taken on November 21st, immortalizing the hidden side of the moon: precisely Jackson Crater and Mare Orientale, respectively in the photos closest to the lunar surface and in the more distant ones.
Then ArgoMoon wanted to pay homage to our planet. Taking a picture of Earth at a distance of 145,000 miles (237,379 km) on November 23; It may not be the sharpest image ever, but it’s incredibly impressive.
In the meantime, the Orion capsule, which is around 85,000 km away from the moon after its first flyby, is also sending images taken with the navigation camera from our satellite to Earth.