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ISRO releases first illuminated image of lunar surface captured by Chandrayaan-2

ISRO captioned the image as 'Preliminary analysis of Chandrayaan-2 Imaging Infrared Spectrometer (IIRS) data and pointed out to several craters on the lunar surface.

Chandrayaan-2 on Thursday beamed back the first illuminated image of the lunar surface acquired by Imaging Infrared Spectrometer (IIRS) payload. The image was shared by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on its Twitter account.

The image shows part of the lunar farside in the northern hemisphere. The image covers Sommmerfield crater floor, the sunlit inner rim of crater Kirkwood, Stebbins crater floor, fresh crater Ejecta within Sommerfield crater floor, and Stebbins crater central peak.

"See the first illuminated image of the lunar surface acquired by #Chandrayaan2’s IIRS payload. IIRS is designed to measure reflected sunlight from the lunar surface in narrow and contiguous spectral channels," ISRO tweeted.

The image comes more than 20 days after the Indian space agency released a few pictures captured by the Orbiter High-Resolution Camera (OHRC) onboard Chandrayaan-2. The OHRC provides very high spatial resolution images of Moon’s surface.

ISRO said Chandrayaan-2 has begun spectroscopic studies of the lunar surface. In a statement, ISRO said the major objective of Imaging Infrared Spectrometer (IIRS) is to understand the origin and evolution of the Moon in a geologic context by mapping the lunar surface mineral and volatile composition using signatures in the reflected solar spectrum.

On August 20, Chandrayaan-2 entered the orbit of the Moon after which it again went through a series of five lunar orbit manoeuvres. Again during this period, the mission had clicked images of the lunar surface with the help of Terrain Mapping Camera 2 (TMC-2) on August 23.

After this, the Vikram lander separated from the Orbiter on September 2 and it performed a couple of de-orbit manoeuvres later that week before attempting a soft landing on the Moon surface on September 7, which however did not turn out to be successful as ISRO lost contact with it in the final moments of its landing process.

The lander was just 2.1 kilometres away from the surface of the Moon when it lost contact and eventually had a hard landing on the lunar surface.