First image of Moon surface shot by Chandrayaan-2

A look at the first Moon image captured by Chandrayaan 2 (Image Twitter/@ISRO)

The much-awaited first image of the lunar surface shot by the Chandrayaan-2 Moon Mission is just out. The black and white image identifies two spots on the lunar surface: the Mare Orientale basic and Apollo craters.

The first Moon shot was captured by the Mission's Vikram Lander at a height of about 2,650 km from the lunar surface on August 21, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) informed in a Thursday evening tweet. 

Space buffs raved about the dramatic jump in resolution quality of the first image captured by Chandrayaan-2 compared to the ones sent back by Chandrayaan-1 on November 4, 2008. That image was shot from a distance of 3.11 lakh km from the Moon.  

Identified on the latest surface image, the Mare Orientale is a lunar mare located on the western border of the near side and the far side of the Moon. This land feature is tough to spot from an Earth-bound perspective. 

Images from spacecraft missions in the past have revealed it to be one of the most striking large scale lunar features, resembling a target ring bullseye. Also seen on the first picture are the enormous Apollo impact craters, located in the Southern hemisphere on the Moon's far side. 

Although Isro gave the picture credit to the Lander, Vikram, more such images are expected to be relayed back to Earth from the Orbiter component of Chandrayaan-2. It has onboard the Terrain Mapping Camera-2 (TMC-2), a miniature version of the TMC first used onboard the Chandrayaan-1 Mission. 

The TMC-2's primary objective is to map the lunar surface in the panchromatic spectral band (0.5-0.8 microns) with a high spatial resolution of five metres. It will cover a swath of 20 km from an orbit of 100 km lunar polar orbit. 

The data collected by TMC 2, Isro informs, will give clues about the Moon's evolution and help the space agency prepare 3D maps of the lunar surface.

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