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posted by martyb on Tuesday September 19 2023, @01:31AM   Printer-friendly
from the One-of-these-days,! dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

On August 23 the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully landed a spacecraft on the moon's south pole, a location that has always been of particular interest to scientists due to the unique conditions created by the planet's extremities.

The moon rover, Chandrayaan-3, which recently completed its 14-day mission, made history by landing on the lunar south pole. Dr. Laura McKemmish, an astrochemist from UNSW Sydney, explains the significance of the mission and what the future holds for lunar exploration.

"This is the first landing of India on the moon, and it will make India the fourth country ever to land on the moon," says Dr. McKemmish. "The ability of our global civilization to go into space exploration is really, really crucial to enable humankind as a global community to explore elsewhere in the universe."

Interest in the southern pole of the moon stems primarily from the fact that scientists have been aware of the presence of frozen water there, and locating water is a large part of Chandrayaan-3's mission. "Identifying frozen bodies of water on the moon is a really important gateway for further space discovery in our solar system."

Following a failed mission to land on the moon in 2019, India joined the US, China and the Soviet Union as only the fourth country to reach this milestone.

Chandrayaan means "moon vehicle" in Hindi and Sanskrit. The vehicle took off from a launch pad in southern India on July 14 and completed a 'soft landing' on the moon nine days later. A soft landing is when the space shuttle is kept intact.

Attempts by various space agencies have been made to land on the south pole of the moon, but it's notoriously difficult to do, thanks to rugged terrain, extreme temperatures, lack of light and communication difficulties.

"Humans have been landing on the equator of the moon for more than half a century," says Dr. McKemmish. "And while a soft landing is always more technical, when the landscape is more cratered, such as it is at the south pole, that landing becomes even harder. There's also increased complexities with communication at the poles, compared to the equator."

Chandrayaan–3 will be running a series of experiments including a spectrometer analysis of the mineral composition of the lunar surface.

"Generally a moon rover will be digging up samples, taking lots of photos, and taking various spectral readings investigating how the material interacts with light," says Dr. McKemmish.

"For this mission, the spectroscopic technique used is basically focusing a laser on the surface, causing the moon rocks to become a plasma. This plasma emits colors of light depending on its composition and thus this measurement tells us a lot about the geology and history of the rock."

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  • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Tuesday September 19 2023, @07:48PM (2 children)

    by Gaaark (41) on Tuesday September 19 2023, @07:48PM (#1325305) Journal

    Pfffffffffft! My Chandrayaan goes to 11.

    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 1) by cereal_burpist on Wednesday September 20 2023, @03:29AM (1 child)

      by cereal_burpist (35552) on Wednesday September 20 2023, @03:29AM (#1325343)

      India joined the US, China and the Soviet Union as only the fourth country to reach this milestone.

      Where's Canada, eh? ;-)

      Ohh, they're in geocentric orbit. []