Nasa’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) satellite has recently transmitted the first images taken by its camera.

The LRO has taken images of a region near Hell E crater on the moon and it will gradually build up photographic maps of the lunar surface.

The LRO will help Nasa identify safe landing sites for manned missions, locate potential resources, characterise the moon’s radiation environment and demonstrate new technologies.

Two of the six remaining instruments have been activated on the LRO. The instruments will look for hydrogen-enriched regions with potential water ice deposits and observe the effects of radiation on the lunar environment.

The spacecraft is revolving in a special elliptical commissioning orbit around the moon.

After all the instruments are activated and calibrated, the satellite will move into its primary mission orbit in August 2009, about 31 miles above the moon.