India’s Moon Rover Confirms Presence of Sulphur
The lunar south pole’s existence of sulphur has been verified by India’s Moon rover, according to the nation’s space agency.
India this week made history by landing a spacecraft for the first time close to the largely uncharted south pole and by becoming only the fourth country to set foot on the moon.
“The Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) instrument onboard Chandrayaan-3 Rover has made the first-ever in-situ measurements on the elemental composition of the lunar surface near the south pole,” the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) stated in a statement dated Monday.
“These in-situ measurements confirm the presence of sulphur in the region unambiguously, something that was not feasible by the instruments onboard the orbiters,” it said.
According to ISRO, subsequent tests revealed the presence of manganese, silicon, and oxygen, while the spectrographic examination also showed the presence of aluminium, calcium, iron, chromium, and titanium on the lunar surface.
The comparatively uncharted south pole will be explored by the six-wheeled, solar-powered rover Pragyan, which means “Wisdom” in Sanskrit. Over the course of its two-week mission, Pragyan will transmit photographs and scientific data.
Despite occasional hiccups, India has been steadily matching the accomplishments of other space projects at a fraction of their cost.
Four years ago, the previous Indian lunar mission, which was viewed at the time as a major setback for the programme, crashed during its final descent.
Since its launch in front of thousands of cheering spectators over six weeks ago, Chandrayaan-3 has captured the public’s interest. Last week, it successfully touched down on the Moon just days after a Russian lander crashed nearby.
India launched a vehicle into orbit around Mars in 2014, becoming the first Asian country to do so, and it has plans to launch a probe towards the sun in September.
By the end of the year, ISRO plans to launch a three-day crewed trip into Earth’s orbit.
It also has plans to send a second probe to the Moon in collaboration with Japan by 2025, as well as an orbital mission to Venus in the following two years.