The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Thursday tweeted the first image of the moon as captured by Chandrayaan 2. The image was captured at a height of about 2,650 km from the moon’s surface said ISRO.
The image shows two major landmarks on the moon - the Apollo crater and the Mare Orientale basin - the former a 538 km wide crater named after NASA's Apollo moon missions and located on the moon's southern hemisphere; and the latter said to be over 3 billion years old, about 950 km wide and formed upon impact from an asteroid-shaped object.
Chandrayaan 2, India’s ambitious and historic lunar mission, was launched on July 22 and entered the moon’s orbit on August 20. It is now just days away from a moon landing with "Vikram", a 1.4-tonne lander, ready for a soft landing on September 7. “Vikram” will in turn set the 27-kg rover "Pragyan" down on a high plain between two craters on the lunar south pole.
After the landing, the rover will carry out experiments on the moon's surface for one lunar day, which is equal to 14 earth days. The mission life of the lander is also one lunar day, while the orbiter will continue its mission for a year.
If successful, this mission will make India the fourth country to soft land a rover on the lunar surface after Russia, US and China.