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Thursday, August 6, 1998 Published at 18:51 GMT 19:51 UK


The Earth and Moon in space

The Earth and the Moon hang in space

Japan's Nozomi spaceprobe has taken a remarkable image of the Earth and the Moon. Our science editor Dr David Whitehouse reports

It is not a unique picture. Other spaceprobes setting off for deep space have taken images of the Earth and the Moon together, but each time it happens the image is haunting.

This is how our world, and its companion, look to the other planets in our solar system.

[ image: The Nozomi spaceprobe]
The Nozomi spaceprobe
In relation to the Earth our Moon is quite large. No other planet has a moon that is so big in comparison. No wonder some have called the Earth-Moon system a 'double planet.'

Nozomi was launched from Japan on July 4th. It is Japan's first interplanetary mission and is designed to gather information about the Martian atmosphere and its interaction with the solar wind.

It will stay in the vicinity of the Earth for another three months before setting off for Mars which it will reach in October next year. Up until now, only the United States and the former USSR have sent space probes there.

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