Chandrayaan’s M3 Looks Back At Earth

by Nancy Atkinson on August 3, 2009

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This false-color image of Earth was taken from 200 kilometers (124 miles) above the lunar surface was taken by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper, one of two NASA instruments onboard the Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.  Credit: NASA/JPL/Brown

This false-color image of Earth was taken from 200 kilometers (124 miles) above the lunar surface was taken by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper, one of two NASA instruments onboard the Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL/Brown


It’s a little fuzzy, but considering the camera was meant to capture the surface of the Moon from 200 kilometers (124 miles) away rather than Earth at 360,000 km (224,000 miles), it’s not bad. This image was taken by NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3 – M Cubed), on board the Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft orbiting the Moon. Australia is visible in the lower center of the image. The image is presented as a false-color composite with oceans a dark blue, clouds white, and vegetation an enhanced green. The image data were acquired on July 22, 2009.

The Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument is a state-of-the-art imaging spectrometer designed to provide the first map of the entire lunar surface at high spatial and spectral resolution. Scientists will use this information to answer questions about the moon’s origin and development and the evolution of terrestrial planets in the early solar system. Future astronauts will use it to locate resources, possibly including water, that can support exploration of the moon and beyond.

Taking an image of Earth, well, that’s just showing off!

Source: JPL

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

astrohrishi August 3, 2009 at 11:07 PM

It was taken on July 22, 2009. Australia and some part of Japan and China is visible too. If camera would have been more sharper and higher resolution, we might have captured extremely tiny shadow of moon (though it is not something to be photographed from moon, if captured, it would have been an unique photo)

Jon Hanford August 4, 2009 at 5:27 AM

The image does appear to show the lunar shadow (brownish spot at about the 10 o’clock position near the limb) as it was moving between India and China ! Great shot of this celestial syzygy. Thanks to astrorishi for mentioning the possibility :)

wjwbudro August 4, 2009 at 6:32 PM

Hey Jon, I believe that’s smog blanket over Yunnan.

Jon Hanford August 5, 2009 at 2:01 PM

The Smog Monster? :)

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