India’s Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission has made groundbreaking discoveries on the Moon’s surface. The Pragyan rover has detected several elements near the lunar south pole.
While the biggest discovery is that of sulphur in the lunar south polar region It has also detected the presence of aluminium, calcium, iron, chromium, titanium, manganese, silicon, and oxygen.
How discovery was made?
The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) confirmed these findings, marking a major milestone in the Chandrayaan programme. The Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) instrument onboard the rover was instrumental in these discoveries.
This scientific technique analyses the composition of materials by exposing them to intense laser pulses, generating a localised plasma. The light emitted from this plasma is then spectrally resolved and detected, revealing the presence of various elements.
The detection of sulphur is particularly noteworthy as it is a relatively rare element on the Moon. Its presence in the south polar region could indicate the existence of water ice, a crucial factor for future lunar missions and potential human habitation.
Sulphur usually originates from volcanic activities, and its presence on the Moon can offer valuable insights into the Moon’s history and composition.
The other elements detected are known to occur on the Moon, but their confirmation adds to our existing knowledge about the lunar surface. The presence of these elements could provide clues about the Moon’s geological history and potential resources for future lunar missions.
The LIBS instrument also detected signals of aluminium, calcium, iron, chromium, and titanium. Further measurements revealed the presence of manganese, silicon, and oxygen.
Currently, the ISRO is conducting an investigation regarding the presence of hydrogen. If found, it would be another significant discovery, given the growing interest in hydrogen as a potential clean energy source.
Hydrogen is mostly used for oil refining and chemical production, and its detection on the Moon could open up new possibilities for energy production in space.