India’s space agency has released the first images of the Moon taken by the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, which entered lunar orbit on Saturday.
The images show craters on lunar surface getting larger and larger as the spacecraft draws closer.
Chandrayaan-3’s lander and rover are due to reach the surface on 23 August.
If successful, India will be the first country to perform a controlled “soft landing” near the south pole.
It will also become only the fourth to achieve a soft landing on the Moon after the US, the former Soviet Union and China.
After the spacecraft orbited the Earth for about 10 days, it was sent into the translunar orbit last Tuesday and successfully injected into the lunar orbit on Saturday.
Indian Space Research Agency (Isro) said that all checks showed that Chandrayaan-3 was in good “health”.
It has also pointed out that “this is the third time in succession that Isro has successfully injected a spacecraft into the lunar orbit”.
Scientists say Chandrayaan-3, the third in India’s programme of lunar exploration, is expected to build on the success of its earlier Moon missions.
It comes 15 years after the country’s first Moon mission in 2008, which discovered the presence of water molecules on the parched lunar surface and established that the Moon has an atmosphere during daytime.
Chandrayaan-2 – which also comprised an orbiter, a lander and a rover – was launched in July 2019 but it was only partially successful. Its orbiter continues to circle and study the Moon even today, but the lander-rover failed to make a soft landing and crashed during touchdown.
Source : BBC