Chandrayaan-3 sent the first photo from the surface of the Moon

The first photo of the Indian mission Chandrayaan-3 after its spectacular landing on the Moon reveals to us a picture of the surface that is hidden from our view. The first image shows spots and relief features scattered near the south pole of our natural moon. 

The first image of the moon’s surface taken by the Indian Chandrayaan-3 mission after its historic landing on August 23, 2023. Image authorship: ISRO

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) posted these breathtaking photos on the social network Twitter on August 23, just a few hours after the successful descent of the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft to the surface of the Moon

The first batch of four photos was obtained thanks to the camera measuring the horizontal speed of the lander. Additional images obtained from the Landing Imager camera show the landing site, including a fragment of the spacecraft’s landing leg and its shadow. 

This historic event made India the fourth country in the world to successfully land its spacecraft on the surface of the Moon, after the United States, the former Soviet Union and China. It is worth noting that Chandrayaan-3 also became the first spacecraft in history to land at the south pole of the Moon, a region of greatest interest to scientists and space agencies around the world.

Scientists believe that these lunar craters, constantly shaded from the Sun, contain water ice. This discovery may be the key to the extraction of resources to support the future colonization of the Moon by mankind. Moreover, these craters may be an ideal location for the next generation of telescopes that will help astronomers explore the most remote corners of the Universe. 

Chandrayaan-3 is also carrying the Pragyan small rover, which will soon begin its own exploration of this mysterious region. Therefore, we should expect even more exciting images. However, it should be noted that both the rover and the lander have a small operating life, since their batteries will not withstand a two-week lunar night.

Chandrayaan-3 mission. Illustration: ISRO

This was India’s second attempt to land a spacecraft near the moon’s south pole. The previous attempt, conducted in September 2019, ended in failure — the Chandrayaan-2 lander collided with the Moon due to a technical malfunction. 

India’s triumph came just a few days after the Russian Luna-25 spacecraft crashed into the Moon during an orbital maneuver on August 19.

Earlier we reported on how Chandrayaan-3 showed the surface of the far side of the Moon before landing.

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