July 15, 2024

Images that appear to show the Earth from space have been repeatedly shared in social media posts that falsely claim they were transmitted from the Moon by India’s successful lunar mission in August. They are actually AI-generated images published by an Indian media organisation before Chandrayaan-3 landed on the Moon.

“Our world is floating. Images from the Moon’s surface sent by Chandrayaan-3,” says the Bengali-language caption to four images shared on Facebook here on August 27.

<img class="caas-img caas-lazy has-preview" alt="Screenshot of the false post taken September 17, 2023” data-src=”https://thenewswave.xyz/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/ai-generated-images-shared-as-actual-pictures-of-the-earth-from-india-lunar-mission.jpg”><img alt="Screenshot of the false post taken September 17, 2023” src=”https://thenewswave.xyz/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/ai-generated-images-shared-as-actual-pictures-of-the-earth-from-india-lunar-mission.jpg” class=”caas-img”>

Screenshot of the false post taken September 17, 2023

India became the first nation to land a craft near the Moon’s largely unexplored south pole, a historic triumph for the world’s most populous nation and its ambitious, cut-price space programme.

The unmanned Chandrayaan-3, which means “Mooncraft” in Sanskrit, touched down at 6:04 pm India time on August 23.

The images have also been shared alongside a similar claim in Facebook posts here and here.

However, the pictures were in fact generated with an AI tool.

Reverse searches on Google found the pictures published here by Indian media organisation WION at 11:08 am on August 23 — about seven hours before the probe’s landing on the Moon (archived link).

The slideshow’s title reads: “How Earth will Look from Moon after Chandrayaan-3 Lands?”

“Artificial Intelligence has created these stunning photos, imagining earth as seen from the lunar surface,” another slide says.

Below are screenshots comparing the images shared in the false posts (left) and the pictures from WION (right):

<img class="caas-img caas-lazy has-preview" alt="Screenshots comparing the images shared in the false posts (left) and the pictures from WION (right).” data-src=”https://thenewswave.xyz/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/ai-generated-images-shared-as-actual-pictures-of-the-earth-from-india-lunar-mission-2.jpg”><img alt="Screenshots comparing the images shared in the false posts (left) and the pictures from WION (right).” src=”https://thenewswave.xyz/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/ai-generated-images-shared-as-actual-pictures-of-the-earth-from-india-lunar-mission-2.jpg” class=”caas-img”>

Screenshots comparing the images shared in the false posts (left) and the pictures from WION (right).

“The images used in the article were indeed AI-generated, and created using Midjourney tool,” Pratik Prasenjit, senior social media manager at WION, told AFP on August 29.

“The article/web story also mentions explicitly that these were created using Artificial Intelligence tool.”

The Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission has been the subject of repeated misinformation debunked by AFP here, here and here.

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