Goodbye Earth! What Messenger Saw On Its Way To Mercury
For its "Astronomy Picture of the Day," NASA is featuring a time-lapse of what Earth looked like from the Messenger spacecraft, as it left its home planet in August of 2005 for its mission to Mercury, our solar system's innermost planet:
"Earth can be seen rotating in this time-lapse video, as it recedes into the distance. The sunlit half of Earth is so bright that background stars are not visible. The robotic MESSENGER spacecraft is now in orbit around Mercury and has recently concluded the first complete map of the surface. On occasion, MESSENGER has continued to peer back at its home world. MESSENGER is one of the few things created on the Earth that has left and will never return — at the end of its mission MESSENGER will be crashed into Mercury's surface."
The time-lapse was made by stitching 358 frames taken over a 24-hour period.