Chandrayaan-2 Captures First Images of Moon, ISRO Identifies Apollo Crater and Mare Orientale Basin

New Delhi: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Thursday released the first visuals of the moon captured by Chandrayaan-2 from a distance of 2,650 km from the lunar surface. The photograph was taken on Wednesday.

The ISRO in a tweet identified two landmarks on the moon, Mare Orientale basin and Apollo crater.

“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. Mare Orientale basin and Apollo craters are identified in the picture (sic),” the ISRO said in the tweet.

The Mare Orientale, shaped like a target ring bull's-eye, is one of the most striking large scale lunar features, located on the Moon's extreme western edge, and is difficult to see from an earthbound perspective, according to US space agency NASA. It is said to be over 3 billion years old, about 950 km across and was formed by the impact of an asteroid sized object.

Apollo is a large 538km diameter double-ringed impact crater in the southern hemisphere of the far side, according to NASA.

The space agency had on August 4 released a first set of images of the earth captured by Chandrayaan-2.

Chandrayaan-2, launched on July 22 by GSLV MkIII-M1 vehicle, had entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory on August 14. According to ISRO, Chandrayaan 2 — India's second lunar expedition — will shed light on a completely unexplored section of the Moon — its South Polar region.

ISRO had on Wednesday performed the second lunar-bound orbit manoeuvre for Chandrayaan-2 and said all spacecraft parameters are normal.

There will be three more orbit manoeuvres before the lander's separation from the Orbiter on September 2 and its eventual soft landing in the south polar region of the moon, planned on September 7. The spacecraft will explore a region of the moon where no mission has ever set foot. It consists of an orbiter, a lander, and a rover together referred to as “composite body”.