A series of high-resolution pictures of earth taken from outer space is being widely circulated across social media platforms claiming them to be the “first photographs” sent by ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2.
A reverse image search on Google showed that most of the pictures in question were either illustrations or stock images lifted from websites including NASA. Another set of images doing rounds were, in fact, taken by astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS).
Even ISRO’s Twitter handle, which has been posting regular updates about the moon lander mission, has not shared any images of earth so far. The last update from the handle was on July 26 which said Chandrayaan-2 performed its “second earth orbit-raising manoeuvre”.
The images have also been debunked by several fact checking websites including Boomlive.
The lunar orbiter part of the Chandrayaan-2 mission, according to ISRO, is equipped with two cameras — Orbiter High-Resolution Camera (OHRC) and Terrain Mapping Camera 2 (TMC 2). Details about the two orbiter payloads on the ISRO site suggest that their primary use is for mapping the lunar surface.
The OHRC will provide high-resolution images of the landing site so that the Lander can avoid craters or boulders.
“The images it captures, taken from two different look angles, serve dual purposes. Firstly, they are used to generate DEMs (Digital Elevation Models) of the landing site. Secondly, they are used for scientific research, post-lander separation. OHRC’s images will be captured over the course of two orbits, covering an area of 12 km x 3 km with a ground resolution of 0.32 m,” according to ISRO site.
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While the TMC 2 will map the lunar surface to aid scientists in preparing 3D maps.
“TMC 2 is a miniature version of the Terrain Mapping Camera used onboard the Chandrayaan 1 mission. Its primary objective is mapping the lunar surface in the panchromatic spectral band (0.5-0.8 microns) with a high spatial resolution of 5 m and a swath of 20 km from 100 km lunar polar orbit,” according to ISRO site.
It is not clear whether the lunar rover is equipped with a camera.