India pulls in the sharpest Moon surface images ever taken from orbit
Things haven’t quite gone to plan for India's Chandrayaan-2 mission, with the team losing the spacecraft’s Vikram lander following a touchdown attempt last month. But there is still plenty of science to come as the probe continues to circle the Moon, with the latest imagery relayed by the orbiting spacecraft revealing the lunar surface in unparalleled detail.
Chandrayaan-2 is the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) second ever mission to the Moon and is built to help us understand its makeup by studying its topography, chemical composition and distribution of minerals. The spacecraft will do so through eight different scientific instruments, including a pair of imaging devices in the form of the Terrain Mapping Camera 2 and the Orbiter High Resolution Camera (ORHC).
The ORHC is in the process of snapping ultra-high-resolution images of the lunar surface over the course of two orbits. The latest transmission reveals the terrain in the "sharpest images ever from a lunar orbiter platform," according to ISRO.
Taken on September 5, the image depicts a region of the Moon within an impact crater called Boguslawsky, which measures 14 km (8.7 mi) across. Zeroing in on different areas of the image reveal boulders, small craters and other surface details with a pixel resolution of 30 cm (12 in), taken from a distance of 100 km (62 mi).
These follow earlier images relayed from the Terrain Mapping Camera in August depicting craters in the Moon’s north polar region. The Vikram lander, however, remains incommunicado. The team was able to pinpoint the site of its crash-landing last month, and continues its efforts to re-establish contact.