India's space agency has published images of the far side of the Moon in preparation for its third lunar mission, which aims to locate a safe landing site on the south pole, which has been little explored.
The images were captured by Chandrayaan-3's lander, Vikram, which launched the final phase of its mission on Thursday.
On August 23, Vikram, which contains a rover in its belly, is scheduled to land. The photographs were taken one day after Russia's Luna-25 spacecraft fell into the Moon due to an uncontrolled spin.
The spacecraft - Russia's first Moon mission in nearly 50 years - was intended to be the first to descend on the south pole, but it failed due to technical difficulties as it moved into the pre-landing orbit.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) announced on Monday morning that the Chandrayaan-3 lander, which is scheduled to descend on Wednesday at 18:04 local time (12:34 GMT), has been mapping the landing area and taking images with its "hazard detection and avoidance" camera.
The black-and-white images sent by this camera will assist Isro in "locating a safe landing area devoid of boulders and deep trenches," according to the organization.
The lunar far side is the side that faces away from the Earth and is sometimes referred to as "the dark side of the Moon" due to the lack of information regarding it.
According to scientists, landing there can be challenging. However, there is considerable interest in this region of the Moon, which scientists believe may contain frozen water and valuable elements.
Isro announced on Sunday that the lander module had been successfully lowered into an orbit closer to the Moon (of 25 kilometers by 134 kilometers) and is currently awaiting the lunar sunrise to land.
If Chandrayaan-3 is successful, India will be the first nation to land on the south pole of the moon. It will also be the fourth country after the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China to accomplish a soft landing on the Moon.
Chandrayaan-3, the third mission in India's lunar exploration program, is anticipated to build on the success of its previous Moon missions.
It comes fifteen years after the nation's first Moon mission in 2008, which discovered the presence of water molecules on the Moon's arid surface and established that the Moon has a daytime atmosphere.
The July 2019 launch of Chandrayaan-2, which included an orbiter, a spacecraft, and a rover, was only partially successful.
Its orbiter continues to orbit and investigate the Moon to this day, whereas the lander-rover failed to perform a soft landing and crashed upon touchdown.
Chandrayaan-3 weighs 3,900 kilograms and cost 6.1 billion rupees ($75 million; £58 million).
According to Isro chief Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, the space agency meticulously analyzed the crash data and conducted simulations to fix the malfunctions in the spacecraft.
The lander module weighs approximately 1,500 kilograms, including the 26-kilogram rover Pragyaan.
The south pole of the Moon is still largely unexplored, and scientists believe there may be water in perpetually shadowed regions because of the vast surface area that remains in shadow there.
Chandrayaan-3's primary objective is to search for water ice, which scientists believe could one day sustain human habitation on the Moon. It could also be utilized to furnish Mars-bound and other distant spacecraft with propellant.