Inspenet, August 30, 2023.
Sulfur on the moon: the great discovery
The Pragyan rover of India’s Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission has made the first direct measurements of the elemental composition of the lunar surface near the south pole, conclusively confirming the existence of sulfur in the region .
Using a Laser Induced Decay Spectroscopy (LIBS) instrument, on-site measurements detected the presence of aluminum, sulfur, calcium, iron, chromium, and titanium on the Moon’s surface. Other elements such as manganese, silicon, and oxygen have also been identified in additional measurements, and detailed investigation into the presence of hydrogen is ongoing.
The scientific technique known as LIBS, which involves exposing materials to intense laser pulses to analyze their composition, has been employed in this context. Each element emits a distinctive series of wavelengths of light when in a plasma state, allowing the determination of the elemental composition of the material.
According to previous research, the presence of sulfur in lunar rock formations, especially those of volcanic origin, acts as a kind of distinctive signature indicating the existence of iron sulfide in the interior of the Moon.
The Pragyaan rover, a six-wheeled vehicle, is intended to acquire information and capture images of the lunar surface for later transmission to Earth. In addition, it will play an essential role in the analysis of the lunar surface composition using techniques such as X-rays and lasers. Together with the Vikram module, the rover will transmit data to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) over a span of 14 Earth days, equivalent to one lunar day, as both devices require solar power to operate.
In addition to these measurements, the lunar temperature data has been shared by India, which has generated surprise among researchers.
Importantly, India becomes the fourth country to achieve a landing on the lunar surface.