In news– Though it failed to make a soft landing, the observations of the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter payloads have yielded discovery-class findings.
About the mission & orbiter-
India’s second mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-2 was launched on 22nd July 2019.
The Orbiter carried eight scientific orbiter payloads-
- Chandrayaan-2 Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer (CLASS).
- Solar X-ray Monitor (XSM).
- Chandra’s Atmospheric Compositional Explorer 2 (CHACE 2).
- Dual Frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar (DFSAR).
- Imaging Infra-Red Spectrometer (IIRS).
- Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC 2).
- Orbiter High-Resolution Camera (OHRC).
- Dual-Frequency Radio Science (DFRS).
Key findings of the mission-
Water on Moon:
- The presence of water on the Moon has already been discovered back in 2008 by Chandrayaan-1.
- But the instrument onboard the first mission to the moon was not sensitive enough to detect the difference between hydroxyl radical (OH) and the water molecule (H2O), which also has OH).
- This time, IIRS of Chandrayaan-2 has detected OH and H2O molecules separately and further found unique characteristics about both.
- It has made the most precise observation about the presence of water molecules on the lunar surface to date.
- Earlier, water was known to be present mainly in the polar regions of the Moon.
- But, Chandrayaan-2 unravels the mystery of water by finding signatures at all latitudes on the surface of the moon.
- Besides, in a first of its kind discovery, a microwave imaging instrument, the DFSAR has detected potential water ice at the permanently shadowed regions in Lunar Poles.
Presence of precious elements:
- Apart from major elements like magnesium, aluminium, silicon, calcium, titanium, iron etc., the CLASS instrument examined and detected minor elements – chromium and manganese for the first time.
- The findings pave the path for adding knowledge about the magmatic evolution of the Moon, its nebular conditions and much more.
Study of the Sun:
- It has collected information about Solar flares.
- Solar X-ray Monitor (XSM), has witnessed a huge amount of microflares outside the active regions of the Sun for the first time.
- This discovery will lead to a better understanding of the mechanism behind the heating of the solar corona.
Extra reading – https://journalsofindia.com/chandrayaan-3/