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This image of Earth seen from space seems harmless at first glance, but is nevertheless extraordinary because it was captured by a tiny camera on board the TRISAT-R nanosatellite of the University of Maribor (Slovenia) in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA). This five-kilogram CubeSat, the size of half a shoebox, was launched into orbit in July 2022 on Vega-C’s very first flight.
A camera less than two cubic millimeters in size
The image was taken at an altitude of 6,000 kilometers by a camera whose size is less than two cubic millimeters, or the size of the edge of a 20 cent coin! The CubeSat has two micro cameras.
The aim of the experiment was to capture examples of the black sun effect, in which very bright or very dark areas appear in the image due to high pixel saturation. The sensors are 320 x 320 pixel arrays with a borosilicate glass lens, which explains why image quality remains low.