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Business News/ Science / Chandrayaan-3: Oxygen, sulphur, iron, silicon; list of findings made on the Moon's surface so far
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Chandrayaan-3: Oxygen, sulphur, iron, silicon; list of findings made on the Moon's surface so far

Chandrayaan-3 rover confirms presence of sulphur on moon's surface; race against time for further experiments

Chandrayaan-3 Pragyan rover roams around the 'Shiv Shakti Point', Vikram' lander's touchdown spot, on the Moon at the south pole. Premium
Chandrayaan-3 Pragyan rover roams around the 'Shiv Shakti Point', Vikram' lander's touchdown spot, on the Moon at the south pole.

India on August 23 scripted history as ISRO's ambitious third Moon mission Chandrayaan-3's Lander Module (LM) touched down on the lunar surface, making it only the fourth country to accomplish the feat and the first to reach the uncharted south pole.

Since the the rover Pragyan has rolled out on the moon's surface, various observations have been made in pursuit of lunar secrets at the South Pole.

Of the three objectives of Chandrayaan Moon Mission, two is completed while the third is currently underway. Demonstration of a Safe and Soft Landing on the Lunar Surface and demonstration of Rover roving on the moon are accomplished. While the third objective, conducting in-situ scientific experiments is currently underway.

Also Read: Aditya-L1: When and where to watch India's maiden solar mission

Here are the list of findings made on the Moon's surface so far: 

1. Temperature recorded on the Lunar surface: On 27 August, ISRO released a graph of the temperature variation on the lunar surface and a senior scientist of the space agency also has expressed surprise over the high temperature recorded on the Moon. The space agency shared an update saying that Chandra's Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) payload onboard Chandrayaan-3's Vikram lander measured the temperature profile of the lunar topsoil around the pole to understand the thermal behaviour of the Moon's surface. While speaking to news agency PTI, ISRO scientist B H M Darukesha said, "We all believed that the temperature could be somewhere around 20 degree centigrade to 30 degree centigrade on the surface but it is 70 degree centigrade. This is surprisingly higher than what we had expected."

2. 4-meter diameter crater on Moon's surface: On 27 August, while plying on the Moon's surface, Chandrayaan-3 Rover faced an obstacle as it came across a 4-meter diameter crater. In an update from ISRO, it said the crater was positioned 3 meters ahead of its location. ISRO then decided to command the Rover to retrace the path and informed that the Rover was now safely heading on a new path.

Also Read: Ex-ISRO scientist credits PM Modi for Chandrayaan-3, says ‘previous govt didn't allocate funds’; Congress responds

3. Elements on the moon: On 30 August, the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope instrument onboard 'Pragyan' rover of Chandrayaan-3 ‘unambiguously confirmed’ the presence of sulphur in the lunar surface near south pole. Other elements like Aluminum (Al), Calcium (Ca), Iron (Fe), Chromium (Cr), Titanium (Ti), Manganese (Mn), Silicon (Si), and Oxygen (O) are also detected. The space agency further added that the search for Hydrogen (H) is underway.  

Meanwhile, scientists have said that the rover is currently in a “race against time" with ISRO working to cover a maximum distance of the uncharted South pole through the six-wheeled vehicle. “We have only 14 days in total for this mission, which is equal to one day on the moon, so four days have been completed. The more experiments and research we can do in the remaining ten days will be important. We are in a race against time because in these 10 days, we have to do maximum work and all the ISRO scientists are working on it," Nilesh M Desai, Director, Space Applications Centre, told ANI on Sunday.

Earlier on Saturday, PM Modi had announced the decision to name the spot where Chandrayaan-3 Vikram lander made soft landing as 'Shiv Shakti Point’ and the site where the Chandrayaan-2 lander crash-landed on the Moon's surface in 2019 would be known as "Tiranga Point". Also, August 23, the day the Chandrayaan-3 lander touched down on the lunar surface, would be celebrated as ‘National Space Day’, Modi had said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 30 Aug 2023, 09:03 AM IST
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