Lander Vikram Sends First Pics Of Moon After Detaching From Spacecraft

The LI Camera -1 also captured images of the Harkhebi J crater, which has a diameter of approximately 43 km.

Chandrayaan 3’s lander Vikram shared latest images of the moon today after completing a manoeuvre that took it closer to its destination.

India’s space agency ISRO shared stunning images taken by the Lander Imager (LI) Camera-1,  on X, formerly known as Twitter. The montage of images shows different craters of the moon, one of which is the Giordano Bruno crater, one of the youngest large craters on the moon.

The LI Camera -1 also captured images of the Harkhebi J crater, which has a diameter of approximately 43 km. The pictures were taken after the lander successfully detached from the spacecraft’s propulsion yesterday.

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 13 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.

Isro chief Sreedhara Panicker Somanath has said that the space agency had carefully studied the data from its crash and carried out simulation exercises to fix the glitches in Chandrayaan-3, which weighs 3,900kg and cost 6.1bn rupees ($75m; £58m). The lander module weighs about 1,500kg, including the 26kg-rover Pragyaan.

The south pole of the Moon is still largely unexplored – the surface area that remains in shadow there is much larger than that of the Moon’s north pole, and scientists say it means there is a possibility of water in areas that are permanently shadowed.

One of the major goals of both Chandrayaan-3 is to hunt for water ice which, scientists say, could support human habitation on the Moon in future. It could also be used for supplying propellant for spacecraft headed to Mars and other distant destinations.