This composite image of the Earth and Moon above is made from data captured by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx’s MapCam instrument on October 2, 2017. The spacecraft was approximately 3 million miles (5 million kilometers) from Earth when the photos were taken. That distance is about 13 times the distance between the Earth and Moon. Three images (different color wavelengths) were combined and color-corrected to make the composite, and the Moon was “stretched” (brightened) to make it more easily visible.
The purpose of OSIRIS-REx spacecraft (acronym for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) is to study, map and return samples for detailed analysis from asteroid 101955 Bennu, a carbon-rich hunk of rock that might contain organic materials or molecular precursors to life. It was launched on September 8, 2016, and expected return date is September 24, 2023. If successful, OSIRIS-REx will be the first NASA spacecraft to return samples from an asteroid.