India’s Lunar Mission: Major Findings and Their Significance

India recently made history with its successful lunar mission, becoming the first country to land a mission near the Moon’s south pole. The mission, known as Chandrayaan-3, deployed a lander and rover called Vikram and Pragyaan, respectively. The rover spent about 10 days in the region, gathering data and images to be sent back to Earth for analysis.

One of the major achievements of the mission is the distance covered by the rover. It has traversed over 100m, avoiding the craters that dot the Moon’s south pole region. The rover’s special wheel mechanism, known as rocker bogie, allows it to move up and down. Scientists at the command center control the rover’s movements based on the images it transmits. This ability to navigate and communicate quickly with the command center is a significant accomplishment.

Another important finding is the significant difference in temperatures on the lunar surface and below the surface. While the surface temperature is nearly 60C, it drops sharply below the surface to -10C at a depth of 80mm. This demonstrates that the Moon’s soil, known as lunar regolith, is an excellent insulator. This finding has implications for future space colonization, as the regolith could be used to build habitats that can regulate temperature and protect against radiation.

The mission also confirmed the presence of sulphur on the lunar surface, which adds to our understanding of the Moon’s formation and evolution. Sulphur is usually associated with volcanoes, and its presence indicates potential water ice on the lunar surface. Additionally, sulphur can act as a fertilizer, suggesting the possibility of growing plants on the Moon.

The mission’s instrument for lunar seismic activity recorded an event that appeared to be natural, potentially a moonquake or an impact from space debris. This event could provide insights into the Moon’s subsurface and its geography.

Lastly, the mission measured the near-surface lunar plasma environment, finding it to be relatively sparse. Plasma refers to the presence of charged particles in the atmosphere, and this measurement contributes to our understanding of the Moon’s atmosphere.

Overall, India’s lunar mission has yielded significant findings that contribute to our knowledge of the Moon’s geology, potential for colonization, and its history of volcanic activity. These findings pave the way for future exploration and scientific endeavours on the lunar surface.

– BBC News
– Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)