Science & Technology

Scientists baffled by India’s latest lunar discovery: Sulfur on the moon

New Delhi, Aug 31 (EFE) The discovery of sulfur on the moon’s far side has left scientists puzzled as they contemplate whether this element originates from internal, volcanic, or meteoric sources.

“This finding by Ch(andrayan)-3 compels scientists to develop fresh explanations for the source of sulfur in the area: intrinsic, volcanic, meteoritic,” the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) tweeted.

Just last week, India achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first nation to land a craft near the uncharted lunar south pole through its Chandrayaan-3 mission.

The Indian mission has also unveiled the presence of aluminium, calcium, iron, chromium, titanium, manganese, silicon, and oxygen on the lunar surface.

ISRO emphasized that this marks the first instance of sulfur being identified “in situ” on the moon’s southern region, signifying a location where the rover was actively engaged in exploration.

“Laser-induced breakdown spectroscope (LIBS) instrument onboard the rover unambiguously confirms the presence of sulfur (S) in the lunar surface near the south pole, through the first-ever in-situ measurements,” ISRO claimed, adding that a search for hydrogen was underway.

LIBS, a scientific methodology involving intense laser pulses, facilitates the analysis of material composition.

In a newly released video, ISRO showcases Chandrayaan-3’s rover navigating the lunar landscape in pursuit of a safe path to avert the risk of descending into a 4-meter-diameter crater.

Chandrayaan-3 successfully achieved a soft landing on the lunar surface on Aug. 23.

Both Chandrayaan-3’s lander and rover are expected to remain operational and send data to ISRO for 14 Earth days, equivalent to one lunar day, as they rely on solar energy for their operations.

India is poised to inaugurate its maiden space-based solar observatory mission, aimed at studying the sun, on the upcoming Saturday. EFE


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