lunar surface: Chandrayaan-3 rover confirms presence of Sulphur on moon


The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Tuesday evening announced that the payload or instruments aboard the Pragyan rover of the Chandrayaan-3 mission has confirmed the presence of sulphur and other chemical elements, as expected, on the lunar surface near the south pole, and that the search for hydrogen is underway.

This is something that was not feasible by the instruments onboard the orbiters, Isro said.

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The space agency said that in-situ (meaning at its place or position) scientific experiments continue with the Chandrayaan-3 mission.

“Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) instrument onboard the rover unambiguously confirms the presence of sulphur on the lunar surface near the south pole, through first-ever in-situ measurements,” Isro said.

Other chemical elements have also been detected, as expected, the space agency said. Search for hydrogen is underway, it said.

The other chemical elements that have been detected on the lunar surface are aluminium, calcium, iron, chromium, titanium, manganese, silicon, and oxygen.

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The LIBS instrument was developed at the Laboratory for Electro-Optics Systems (LEOS)/Isro, Bengaluru. LIBS is a scientific technique that analyses the composition of materials by exposing them to intense laser pulses. A high-energy laser pulse is focused onto the surface of a material, such as a rock or soil. The laser pulse generates an extremely hot and localised plasma.

The collected plasma light is spectrally resolved and detected by detectors such as Charge Coupled Devices. Since each element emits a characteristic set of wavelengths of light when it’s in a plasma state, the elemental composition of the material is determined.

The Chandrayaan-3 is the third lunar mission of India which successfully landed on the moon on August 23. The mission life is for 14 earth days or one lunar day after which the lunar night will set in. Since the rover and the lander are solar powered, they will not be able to function during the lunar night.

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