India Chandrayaan-2 mission is in orbit around the moon, and its views are spectacular.
Spaceship entered the wharf job on August 19 (August 20, local time at mission control in India), about one month after launch, July 22. To make the trip more feasible with a smaller rocket, the spaceship took a long way to the moon with about seven weeks between launch and scheduled touchdown of the mission's lands and orbits.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which runs the Chandrayaan-2 mission, has now released the spacecraft's first image of the moon taken from orbit. This image was snapped from about 1,650 miles (2,650 kilometers) across the lunar surface on Wednesday (August 21). The photograph shows the equatorial region where the Apollo missions landed.
related: India's Chandrayaan-2 Mission to the Moon in Photos
But that region is not Chandrayaan-2's destination. An orbiter will differ from the Indian mission, and then the lander, with a rover plunged aboard, lands at a location much closer lunar south pole, with landing scheduled for September 6 (September 7, local time at mission control).
ISRO chose this destination partly based on the results from the forerunner of the mission, which carried the instrument that detected water ice frozen in permanently shaded craters near the lunar south pole. And so India built a second mission, to add a landed component this time, to follow up on this discovery.
If the lander is sure to move, India will be the fourth country to complete the shortfall after the Soviet Union, the United States and China. The lander and rover would operate on a Monday but are not designed to withstand the free moon evenings.