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India has received the first space photographs from its unmanned spacecraft
India has received the first space photographs from its unmanned spacecraft on a mission to the Moon, the Indian Space Research Organization said on Saturday.

Chandrayaan-1 was launched into space by the Indian-built PSLV-C11 rocket on October 22, and is set to enter the Moon's orbit on November 8. Chandrayaan means "Moon Craft" in ancient Sanskrit.

On-board cameras took pictures of the Earth from distances of 9,000 km (5,594 miles) and 70,000 km (43,505 miles).

India's first lunar mission signifies the country's breakthrough into the club of space powers, making it the third Asian country after Japan and China to carry out a lunar flight.

The 1,304-kg spacecraft is equipped with 10 scientific instruments to study the Moon from a 100-km orbit, and one probe that will slam into the lunar surface hoping to uncover signs of Helium 3, an isotope that may fuel energy generation from nuclear fusion in the future.

Five of the instruments were built in India, while the other six were the result of cooperation with Europe and the United States.

The remote-sensing satellite will create a detailed three-dimensional map of the Moon's surface and investigate its chemical composition. The primary goal is the discovery of water, along with magnesium, aluminum, silicon and titanium, and the radioactive elements radon, uranium and thorium.


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