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All the Misinformation That Took Off Along With ISRO's Chandrayaan-3

Those sharp images of the moon and earth and that video of the launch of Chadrayaan-3 were probably false.

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Shortly after the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced that its third lunar exploration mission under the Chandrayaan programme, Chandrayaan-3, would land on the surface of moon on Wednesday, 23 August, we saw a barrage of online misinformation around the mission.

From old videos being shared visuals being shared as images taken by Chandrayaan-3 to stock and illustrated images shared as real images of the moon sent by the mission.

The urgency of sharing and discovering content on social media platforms has made people extremely susceptible to 'fake news'. The users become active participants of the bandwagon effect wherein people engage and share content without checking it.

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Exposure to abundant information online also tricks the users by putting their analytical thinking to a backseat and letting their cognitive bias step in. When this happens, the users tend to consume and believe information that explicitly confirms their already existing beliefs. This makes the spread of misinformation much easier, as we see in the case of Chandrayaan-3. 

Another factor that has given a push to misinformation is the subscription of X Premium, previously known as Twitter Blue, which not only gives the X (previously Twitter) users a verified account but also pushes their content. 

Here are some of the pieces of misinformation debunked by us about the launch of Chandrayaan-3, footage sent by the rocket and even it's budget.

CHANDRAYAAN-3'S TRYST WITH MISINFORMATION BEGINS WITH ITS LAUNCH

A day after the launch of Chandrayaan, a video showing footage of the launch as viewed from a flight was shared to claim that people flying from Chennai to Dhaka, Bangladesh recorded this clip.

Those sharp images of the moon and earth and that video of the launch of Chadrayaan-3 were probably false.

An archive of the post can be seen here.

(Source: X/Screenshot)

The truth:

  • Neither is the video recent nor does it show the launch of Chandrayaan-3.

  • It could be traced back to at least December 2022 and reportedly shows the launch of SpaceX Falcon 9.

Another claim linked to the Chandrayaan-3 shows a similar video of a rocket launch as seen inside a flight.

Those sharp images of the moon and earth and that video of the launch of Chadrayaan-3 were probably false.

An archive can be seen here.

(Source: X/Screenshot)

The truth:

  • The video dates back to 2021 and is from Florida, USA.

  • It shows the launch of United Launch Alliance's (ULA) rocket and is unrelated to ISRO's launch.

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MORE CLAIMS COME UP AROUND THE EXPECTED LANDING

Later, ISRO shared an updated about Chandrayaan-3 landing on the moon's surface on 23 August. Along with the update, ISRO also shared new images that the lunar module took of the moon.

Following this, misinformation about the moon and the earth's visuals started circulating.

A video showing an aerial view of the earth from space was shared to claim that these visuals were recorded by Chandrayaan-3.

Those sharp images of the moon and earth and that video of the launch of Chadrayaan-3 were probably false.

An archive of the post can be seen here.

(Source: X/Screenshot)

The truth:

  • The video is unrelated to Chandrayaan-3 and is from October 2022.

  • It was captured by an astronaut named Samantha Cristoforetti during their second mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

This old image was shared to claim that Chandrayaan-3 has captured one of the 'sharpest images' of the moon.

Those sharp images of the moon and earth and that video of the launch of Chadrayaan-3 were probably false.

An archive of the post can be seen here.

(Source: X/Screenshot)

The truth:

  • This old image from 2021 was created by a Kurdish astrophotographer, Darya Kawa, after processing and merging 400 raw images he captured.

  • He used Celestron Nexstar 8SE (telescope) and Canon EOS 1200D (camera) to capture this image.

Yet another video showing the moon's craters was shared to claim that it was recorded by Chandrayaan-3.

Those sharp images of the moon and earth and that video of the launch of Chadrayaan-3 were probably false.

An archive of the post can be found here.

(Source: X/Screenshot)

The truth:

  • The viral video is from December 2020 and shows an animated close-up of the moon in motion.

  • It predates the launch of ISRO's Chandrayaan-3.

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THAT IS NOT ALL, UNFORTUNATELY, THERE'S MORE

Chandrayaan-3's launch also saw some communal disinformation and propaganda, with social media users sharing a claim regarding the rocket's budget and comparing it to the subsidy provided for Haj pilgrims.

The claim said that the budget for Chandrayaan-3 was Rs 615 crores, whereas the government's annual budget for the Haj pilgrimage subsidy is Rs 685 crores.

Those sharp images of the moon and earth and that video of the launch of Chadrayaan-3 were probably false.

An archive of this tweet can be seen here.

(Source: X/Screenshot)

The truth:

  • The claim that the Haj pilgrimage's annual budget exceeds Chandrayaan-3's budget is false, as the subsidy was scrapped in 2018.

  • Moreover, the figure shared in the viral claim shows the subsidy amount in 2011.

From the launch of Chandrayaan-3 till it lands on the moon, social media platforms have been witnessing a soar in the spread of misinformation that goes viral as real.

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(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Fact Check   Webqoof   Chandrayaan 

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