On August 23, India made history as Chandrayaan-3 successfully landed near the south pole of the moon. Soon after this, as the mainstream and social media saw a deluge of news and updates about the achievement of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), a clip and an image went viral on social media with the claim that they were related to the Chandrayaan-3.
ISRO itself shared some visuals captured by the Lander Imager Camera just prior to touchdown. The video and image in question were not among them.
Claim 1: Footage of Chandrayaan-3 Landing Released by NASA
A video is viral on social media where a spacecraft can be seen attempting to land on the surface of the moon. It is claimed to be recorded by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and apparently shows Chandrayaan-3 landing near the South pole of the moon. The audio/voice-over heard in the video is claimed to be NASA narrating the Chandrayaan-3 landing.
X (formerly Twitter) Blue user P.N.Rai (@PNRai1) shared the above-mentioned video with the caption: “Now see Nasa’s actual pictures of chandrayan 3 landing taken by their (DSN) deep space network.” (Archive)
Now see Nasa’s actual pictures of chandrayan 3 landing taken by their (DSN) deep space network. pic.twitter.com/1lxYmnRu8o
— P.N.Rai (@PNRai1) August 24, 2023
On first look, it seemed that the visual could be animated. We broke down the video into several key-frames and ran a reverse image search on them. We came across the same clip on YouTube uploaded on July 20, 2023, by the channel ‘Hazegrayart’ with the title: “Apollo 11 Moon Landing”. The description box of the YouTube short shared information related to the Apollo 11 mission.
At around the 0:49 mark of the above clip the line, “The Eagle has landed” can be heard. This can also be heard in the viral clip in question. Apollo 11 mission was the first-ever attempt done in human history to send a crewed spacecraft to land on the moon. The spacecraft involved in Apollo 11 mission was named ‘Lunar Module Eagle’ (LM-5). Also called ‘Eagle’, it was the first ever spacecraft to have successfully made a crewed landing on the moon. The historic event was carried out by NASA in 1969 making Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin the first humans to walk on the Moon.
We further found a 4-minute-long YouTube video shared by the channel ‘Hazegrayart’ on June 8, 2021. The video title said: “The Apollo 11 Moon Landing: A Historic Moment in Space Exploration”, at the 0:58 mark of the video the viral clip bit begins. The description section of this video also carried information about the Apollo 11 mission by NASA. This proves that the video is 2-year old.
We also noticed that all the videos posted by the channel ‘Hazegrayart’ were animated.
Therefore, it is clear that the claim that this clip displays NASA’s recording of Chandrayaan-3 landing on the surface of the moon is false. The clip is animated, two-year old and not related to Chandrayaan-3. It captures the Apollo 11 mission carried out by NASA.
We have written to the administrator of the YouTube age Hazegrayart to know more about the video. This story will be updated as and when there is a response.
Claim 2: Ashoka Stambh Imprinted on Moon’s Surface
A picture of the Indian emblem (Lion Capital of Ashoka) and tire marks on both sides is viral on social media with the claim that it is an imprint permanently created by the rover, Pragyan, involved in the Chandrayaan-3 mission, when it came out of the lander, Vikram, and rolled over the surface of the moon.
Former journalist and Hindutva influencer Pushpendra Kulshrestha (@Pushpendraamu) shared the image on X (formerly Twitter) on August 23 with the above-mentioned claim. His tweet has received over 90,000 views and has been retweeted over 1,200 times. (Archive)
Image permanently imprinted on the surface of Moon today onward as Tyres of rover has this imprint, as there is no air on moon hence these marks will be forever. pic.twitter.com/oFor9u6Wil
— Pushpendra Kulshrestha (@Pushpendraamu) August 23, 2023
X (formerly Twitter) user @SequelDBA also tweeted the same image and mentioned in the caption that the impression as in the image shall be left by the Chandrayaan-3 on the Moon’s surface. The tweet has received close to 3 Lakh views. (Archive)
— The Free Bird ❤️ (@SequelDBA) August 23, 2023
On closely analysing the viral image, we noticed that the image has a copyright watermark with the name Krishanshu Garg. We searched the name ‘Krishanshu Garg’ and found the user’s Instagram id, where he had shared the image on August 23 on his Instagram story with a timer set as a countdown till the landing of Chandrayaan-3. The timer could be seen set for nine hours later.
We also looked up Garg’s X profile, where too he had shared the image while making a comment under a tweet by ISRO where they had shared the images taken by the Landing Imager Camera after landing. His caption said, “Can’t wait for this! 🌕🇮🇳”.
Can’t wait for this! 🌕🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/9cXjpjT3nL
— Krishanshu Garg (@KrishanshuGarg) August 23, 2023
We also found other similar artwork created by him on his profile and the same watermark used in them. He also made an Instagram post clearing out the fact that this image is simply his artwork and not a real image of the surface of the moon, he urged people to not forward such false news.
View this post on Instagram
Therefore, the viral image claiming to be a real visual of the imprint left by the rover of Chandrayaan-3 on the surface of the moon is false.
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