NASA Probe Snaps Selfie of Earth from 71 Million Miles Away

By Kehl Bayern / January 15, 2019

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, selfies are a byproduct of the sheer ubiquity of cameras.

And part of the reason for this ubiquity is that optical technology has advanced so much – and become so much cheaper in the process – over the past two decades that it is astounding.

Image from NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin Space.

Of course, one area where optical technology has really delivered some non-selfie dividends for humanity is in outer space where we receive photographs of a history-making nature on what seems like a daily basis.

Not to be left out of the selfie game, Earth and its satellite the moon were recently captured by the awesomely named OSIRIS-REx, a probe sent to explore an asteroid named Bennu.

The selfie, taken from a distance of some 71 million miles away from Earth, transforms the blue marble in a white grain of sand. You can even make out the moon – it is the little dot beside our planet.

The brightest white dot in the picture is actually the asteroid Bennu itself per a report in Thrillist. It seems to be hogging a lot of the screen real estate but, as many are pointing out, what is mind boggling to consider are the distances between these white dots and the vastness of space between them. It does justice to the phrase “far out” at a minimum.

These pictures, taken while the OSIRIS-REx is en route to study Bennu, are being compared to the “Pale Blue Dot” photos taken by Voyager 1. That collection was taken a while ago and was done from 3.7 billion miles away.

The team behind the OSIRIS-REx even promised that these won’t be the last photos we receive from the probe so be on the outlook for more amazing astrophotography in the near future. Are you a fan of astrophotography? Let us know about some of your favorite missions (and photos) in the comments.


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About the author

Kehl Bayern

Kehl Bayern is our staff news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing. In terms of photography, he is interested in architecture and modern design. Kehl Bayern is also the author of science fiction thriller Animus Proxy. He is based in Boston, Massachusetts and studied politics at the University of Virginia and, later, Harvard University for graduate school. He spends much of his time traveling up and down the east coast of the United States. You can follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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