The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) reported that its Chandrayaan-3 rover has successfully identified various elements on the lunar surface, including the presence of sulfur, oxygen, calcium, and iron. This significant discovery was made through the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) instrument on the rover, which conducted in-situ measurements of the elemental composition near the Moon’s South Pole. The confirmation of sulfur’s presence holds particular importance as it offers insights into the Moon’s geological history and formation.
The LIBS instrument, developed by ISRO’s Laboratory for Electro-Optics Systems (LEOS), utilizes high-energy laser pulses to generate plasma from lunar rocks or soil. By analyzing the emitted radiation wavelengths from the elements in the plasma state, researchers can identify their presence. In addition to sulfur, the LIBS instrument also detected aluminum, calcium, iron, chromium, titanium, manganese, silicon, and oxygen.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission aims to enhance our understanding of the Moon by studying its elemental composition and abundance. Another instrument on the rover, the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer, is dedicated to this task as well. The detection of these elements contributes to our existing knowledge of lunar composition, shedding light on its history and development.
Dr. Anil Bhardwaj, the director of the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad, expressed that ISRO’s ongoing data release offers a glimpse into the experimental work being carried out on the Moon. The data collected by Chandrayaan-3’s instruments is extensive, encompassing surface temperatures and various observations. These findings will be further analyzed by specialized scientists once the mission concludes, potentially leading to groundbreaking insights about the Moon’s composition and evolution.