This is the Web Edition of "A Trip Into Space", a Coimbra-based electronic book on space science. Both the texts and the photos are by courtesy of National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The Earth

This picture of Antarctica is a mosaic of 40 images obtained by the Galileo spacecraft's camera using the red, green, and violet filters. When the images were taken several hours after Galileo's Earth flyby on December 8, 1990, the spacecraft was about 200,000 kilometers (124,000 miles) from Earth.

Surrounding the icy continent, the dark blue of three oceans may be seen: the Pacific to the lower right, the Indian to the upper right, and a small section of the Atlantic at the upper left. Nearly the entire continent was sunlit at the time, just two weeks before Antarctic midsummer. The South Pole is left of center; the arc of dark spots extending below there and to the right is the Transantarctic Mountain Range. To the right of the mountains is the vast Ross Ice Shelf and its sharp border with the dark waters of the Ross Sea, merging into the South Pacific. The faint blue line along the curved limb of Earth, at the bottom, marks our planet's atmosphere.

The Galileo project is managed for NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory; its mission is to study Jupiter and its satellites and magnetosphere after multiple gravity-assist flybys at Venus and Earth.

Last Update: 2005-Nov-29