THIS AMAZING VIDEO of Earth was taken by the MESSENGER spacecraft as it rocketed away from our home planet on a one-way flight to Mercury, and appeared as a NASA Astronomy Picture Of The Day.
The spacecraft was launched in 2004 to study Mercury and completed its 2000th orbit of the planet earlier this year.
The Mercury-bound MESSENGER spacecraft captured several stunning images of Earth during a gravity assist swingby of its home planet on Aug. 2, 2005. Several hundred images, taken with the wide-angle camera in MESSENGER’s Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS), were sequenced into a movie documenting the view from MESSENGER as it departed Earth.
Comprising 358 frames taken over 24 hours, the movie follows Earth through one complete rotation. The spacecraft was 40,761 miles (65,598 kilometers) above South America when the camera started rolling on Aug. 2. It was 270,847 miles (435,885 kilometers) away from Earth — farther than the Moon’s orbit — when it snapped the last image on Aug. 3.