The Mars orbiter currently revolving around Earth has sent its first pictures.

The single greenish, yellow and cream picture of India and its neighbourhood that ISRO has shared was taken on November 20 at 1.50 p.m. from a distance of 70,000 km.

ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan said the spacecraft was now orbiting Earth once in 91.5 hours. The last orbit-raising operation of November 16 has placed the orbit apogee or farthest point from Earth at 2 lakh km. It will continue in this orbit until it is given the escape velocity to leave Earth on December 1 and set on the path to Mars.

The update on ISRO's Facebook page on its Mars Orbiter Mission page said the team handling the spacecraft has been testing the instruments on it. On Wednesday, it turned its colour camera towards Earth and switched it on for the first time since MOM was launched on November 5.

The update team earlier said, “We have a nice little thing to share with all of you... And here is the first ever image of Earth taken by the Mars Colour Camera. The image has a spatial resolution of 3.5 km. We are certain we're going to get some great shots in the orbit of Mars.”

ISRO’s spokesman Deviprasad Karnik noted that the regular IRS remote sensing satellites take pictures of Earth all the time but from distances of 600-800 km from ground. This picture was taken from several times that distance.

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