NASA's Orion makes its closest approach to moon

STORY: Date: December 5, 2022

This is the closest approach to the moon for a spacecraft built to carry humans

since Apollo 17 flew half a century ago

NASA's Artemis I mission sailed within 80 miles of the lunar surface

The flyby came a week after Orion reached its farthest point in space

nearly 270,000 miles from Earth while midway through its 25-day mission

The much-delayed and highly anticipated launch of Orion last month

kicked off Apollo's successor program Artemis

aimed at returning astronauts to the lunar surface this decade

and establishing a sustainable base there as a stepping stone to future human exploration of Mars