(via The Xinhua News Agency)

There isn't a shortage of stunning images that capture Earth and Luna, our beautiful, gray moon, side-by-side. Earth is generally the big, prominent, blue-green object; with a tiny crescent moon hanging out nearby. Very few images show the Earth-Moon system  from the perspective of the moon though.

This new family portrait was taken by a Chinese experimental spacecraft, which arrived back on Earth earlier this month (at the start of November) following a round trip to the moon. Over the course of 8 days, it made history by being the first probe dispatched by China to explore the moon.

The trip began early on Thursday, October 23rd, when the spacecraft — dubbed the Chang'e 5 test vehicle — was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Soon after it took to the skies, it detached from the carrier rocket it was attached to, officially entering Earth's orbit, according to China's official Xinhua News Agency. Days later, it reached its farthest point from Earth, about 257,000 miles (413,000 km) away. For perspective, on average, the moon is 238,855 miles (384,400 km) away from Earth (and this gap grows a little larger each year, thanks to the expansion of the universe).

When all was said and done, China managed to become one of only three countries to successfully bring samples back from the moon, Moreover, this mission is expected to serve as the catalyst for the country's first manned mission to the Moon; set to take place sometime in 2017.


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