India’s Chandrayaan-3 Lunar Mission Marks Scientific Success: Discoveries of Abundant Elements on the Moon’s Surface
India’s lunar exploration mission, Chandrayaan-3 has embarked on a scientific journey filled with success. The rover has conducted an analysis of the lunar surface, revealing the presence of sulfur, aluminum, calcium, iron, chromium, titanium, magnesium, silicon, and oxygen.
However, the crucial discovery of hydrogen which would be a key link to lunar water, has not yet been confirmed. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) stated that “detailed investigations regarding the existence of hydrogen are ongoing.”
The success of these missions can be attributed to India’s innovative equipment, namely the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) device. This tool shoots high-energy lasers at lunar soil samples, turning them into short-lived plasmas. Simultaneously, another instrument captures the light emitted by the plasma and analyzes its wavelengths to identify the elemental composition. This equipment has revealed a multitude of elements, including the surprising discovery of sulfur, previously undocumented on the Moon’s surface.
The presence of these elements suggests that the resources required for establishing a lunar colony might be more abundant than previously thought, potentially reducing the cost of transporting materials from Earth. Additionally, sulfur could potentially be used to make concrete. However, confirming the existence of hydrogen at the Moon’s South Pole could bring about genuine changes, possibly transforming the Moon into a stepping stone for space exploration.
Currently, the rover is slowly approaching a 4-meter-wide volcanic pit crater at a speed of approximately 10 centimeters per second. The closer it gets to the eternal shadow of the crater wall, the higher the chances of encountering sunlight-preserved ice, though it’s no easy task due to the rugged lunar terrain.
“Rover has been commanded to backtrack; it’s safe” announced ISRO via Twitter after the rover faced a potentially hazardous situation.
These successful missions have positioned India as a leader in space exploration and technology, joining the ranks of the United States, the Soviet Union, and China, which have previously achieved lunar landings. This progress aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of advancing domestic science to establish India as a formidable global leader, and India is now on that path.
Currently, numerous countries are heading towards the Moon, including Russia, which has been absent from lunar exploration for over 47 years, South Korea, on the verge of success, and even Israel. India’s achievements mark an exciting era in space exploration, as David Kring, a planetary scientist from the United States, noted, “It’s an incredibly exciting time” and “It’s bound to be a lot of fun.”