Photoshopped image shared as Chandrayaan-3’s imprint on the moon

By: Soham Shah
August 24 2023

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Photoshopped image shared as Chandrayaan-3’s imprint on the moon


The Verdict False

The image was created using the photo editing tool, as confirmed by its creator.

Claim ID c35b0344

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) made history Wednesday evening when its latest lunar mission Chandrayaan-3 soft landed on the moon's south pole, making India the first country to do so. After the touchdown of Chandrayaan-3's lander Vikram, ISRO shared visuals of the moon captured by its spacecraft.

What's the claim?

As India rejoices over ISRO's historical achievement, which puts to rest the disappointment over the crash landing of Chandrayaan-2 in 2019, several social media users are sharing an image of ISRO's logo with Ashok Stambha, the national emblem of India, imprinted on a white background. The photo is being shared with the claim that it shows the wheel imprint of Chandrayaan-3's rover Pragyan on the moon. 

One such post on X (formerly Twitter) shared the photo with the caption: "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."

The image is also widely circulating on Facebook and WhatsApp with a similar narrative. Archive links of these posts can be found here, here, and here

Image shared on X. (Source:X/@chikhani_manish,@Pushpendraamu/Altered by Logically Facts)

However, the image is fake and was created using photo editing tools.

What is the truth?

Most of the images being shared on social media carry the watermark '© Krishanshu Garg.' 

Krishanshu Garg’s watermark on the viral image. (Source:X)

Using this clue, we found that the image had been posted on X by one Krishanshu Garg (@KrishanshuGarg) on Wednesday.

Image shared by Krishnanshu Garg on X (Source/X/@KrishanshuGarg)

Logically Facts contacted Garg, an entrepreneur and space enthusiast, who confirmed that the image was created by him using photo editing software Adobe Photoshop. The Lucknow resident said he had also shared this image on his Instagram account as a story during the countdown for Chandrayaan-3's landing on the moon.

Garg’s Instagram story highlight (Source: Instagram)

Garg said, "My motive was never to spread any sort of fake news. I posted the countdown story ten hours before the landing, but I don't know how people shared it as a real image after the landing. Even I'm shocked." 

Garg's Instagram story also proves that the image was shared well before Chandryan's soft landing around 6:04 pm (IST) on Wednesday.

What about the imprint?

The Pragyan rover will indeed leave an imprint of the Indian national emblem and ISRO's logo on the lunar surface. ISRO's animated curtain raiser video of the Chandrayaan-3 mission shared on the space agency's official website shows what the imprint would look like around the 4:08 timestamp.

ISRO's curtain raiser video representing the Pragyan rover on the moon. The video showed the imprint of the Indian national emblem and ISRO logo that will be left on the lunar surface. (Source: Screenshot/ISRO)

On September 2, 2019, ISRO had also shared an animated video of the rover of its previous lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, on its official YouTube channel. Around the 2:46 timestamp, this video also showed the rover leaving similar imprints on the moon. 

However, both videos show the emblem and the ISRO logo on both sides of the track, unlike the photo shared by Garg and the one currently circulating on social media.

Media outlets such as India Today also reported that the ISRO logo and the Ashok Stambha would be etched on the moon's surface by the Pragyan rover and published a visual representation of how this imprint would look.

The image circulating on social media is fake, as ISRO itself had yet to share, at least till the time of publishing this story, an actual photo of the imprint that the Pragyan rover will leave on the moon. 

The verdict

We mark this claim false as the viral image has been created using Photoshop and is not an actual photo of Chandrayaan 3's Pragyaan rover imprint.

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