How Chandrayaan-1 helped confirm and reconfirm water on the Moon

Headline : How Chandrayaan-1 helped confirm and reconfirm water on the Moon

Details :

The News

Scientists from NASA have observed definitive evidence of water ice on the Moon’s surface using data from Moon Minerology Mapper aboard Chandrayaan-1

 

Key Highlights

  • Data from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper confirmed the presence of solid ice on the Moon by spotting a distinctive signature of water ice:
    • Albedo: Studying the reflective properties of ice.
    • Near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy: Measuring the way ice molecules absorb infrared light differentiating them from liquid water or vapour.
  • The solid ice discovered lies mostly in the shadows of craters near the poles where the maximum temperature reaches about -150°C.
  • At the southern pole (Fig 1), most of the ice is concentrated at lunar craters, while the northern pole’s ice is more widely spread (Fig 2).

 

 

Significance

  • The patchy distribution of ice can help us understand the unique formation and evolution process of moon.
  • With enough ice sitting at the surface this could help sustain astronauts, on human moon missions, for longer.

 

Evidence of water on Moon: A Timeline

  • Earlier in 2009, data from M3 revealed water and a related molecule hydroxyl H1O1, were present across the entire surface of moon.
  • ISRO’s hyperspectral imager aboard Chandrayaan, corroborated the evidence.
  • Further Moon Impact Probe, a 35-kg cube-shaped instrument, had produced compelling evidence of water on the Moon.
  • In August 2013, a team of US scientists using M3 data detected magmatic water, “or water that originates within the Moon’s interior”, on the lunar surface.
  • In 2017, using data taken from M3, scientists had created the first quantitative global map of water on the Moon’s soil.
  • In February 2018, NASA presented fresh evidence of water being “widely distributed” across the surface.

 

About Chandrayaan-1

  • Chandrayaan-1 was India’s first mission to the moon.
  • The lunar orbiter was launched aboard PSLV-C11 in Oct., 2008.
  • It is best known for helping to discover evidence of water molecules on the moon.
  • It orbited the moon for almost a year (between October 2008 and August 2009).
  • Its major goal was to collect data on moon’s geology, mineralogy and topography.

 

 

 

Section : Science & Tech
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