The first image of the Moon captured by Chandrayaan 2, India's ambitious Rs 1,000-crore moon mission, was tweeted by space agency ISRO on Thursday. The image of the moon, ISRO says, was captured at a height of about 2,650 km from the moon surface and was taken a day earlier.
The image shows two significant landmarks on the moon, the Apollo crater and the Mare Orientale basin.
The Apollo, a 538 km-wide crater named after NASA's Apollo moon missions, is located on the moon's southern hemisphere. According to NASA, many smaller craters located inside the Apollo, are named after dead NASA astronauts and officials. Seven such craters take their names after the crew of NASA's Colombia.
The Mare Orientale, on the other hand, is said to be over 3 billion years old and about 950 km wide. Shaped like a bullseye, it was formed after an impact from an asteroid-shaped object. A very significant landmark on the moon, the Mare Orientale is difficult to look at from the earth, according to NASA.
Take a look at the first Moon image captured by #Chandrayaan2#VikramLander taken at a height of about 2650 km from Lunar surface on August 21, 2019.- ISRO (@isro) August 22, 2019
Mare Orientale basin and Apollo craters are identified in the picture.#ISROpic.twitter.com/ZEoLnSlATQ
The Chandrayaan 2, on its journey to the moon, successfully pulled off a critical manoeuvre yesterday, taking it closer to the moon. Said to be one of the trickiest in the mission, the 20-minute manoeuvre, if unsuccessful, would have resulted in the mission bouncing off into deep space.
The next significant test for the Chandrayaan 2 is scheduled for September 7, which will have the mission landing on the moon's south pole.
If successful, India will lay claim to being the fourth nation to soft land a rover on the lunar surface after Russia, US and China. Israel had earlier attempted to do the same with their Beresheet spacecraft, but was unsuccessful, after it crash landed on the moon earlier this year.
The process of landing Chandrayaan 2 on the moon is very complex since it blasted off at a velocity of 39,240 kilometres per hour, which is almost 30 times the speed at which sound travels through air.