Chandrayaan-3: Pragyan rover finds sulphur on Moon’s south pole, search on for hydrogen

BENGALURU: Isro on Tuesday said that in the “first-ever in-situ” measurements carried out in the lunar polar region, the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) instrument onboard Chandrayaan-3 rover Pragyan has unambiguously confirmed the presence of Sulphur (S) in the lunar surface near the south pole.
“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,” Isro said.
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,” Isro added.
Other elements detected too
The space agency said that preliminary analyses, graphically represented, have unveiled the presence of Aluminum (Al), Sulphur (S), Calcium (Ca), Iron (Fe), Chromium (Cr), and Titanium (Ti) on the lunar surface.

“Further measurements have revealed the presence of manganese (Mn), silicon (Si), and oxygen (O). Thorough investigation regarding the presence of Hydrogen is underway,” Isro said.

LIBS instrument is developed at the Laboratory for Electro-Optics Systems (LEOS) in Bengaluru. LEOS, one of the vital units of Isro, deals with the design, development and production of attitude sensors for all LEO, GEO and interplanetary missions; develops and delivers optical systems for remote sensing and meteorological payloads.

“The lab is equipped with world class fabrication, testing and coating facilities. Next generation technologies such as 3-axis fiber optics gyro, optical communication, MEMS, nanotechnology, detectors and development of science payloads for future space missions are also being pursued,” according to Isro.

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