Tag Archives: Chandrayaan-1

Source of the Moon's water

Remember how NASA's M3 instrument on ISRO's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft confirmed the sparse existence of water all over the surface of the Moon? One of the speculations was that the water formed as protons, which are basically hydrogen atoms without electrons, combine with the oxygen in lunar rock. And it seems that this is indeed the case as the ESA's SARA instrument on the same spacecraft had collected data showing that a substantial number of protons in the solar wind are being absorbed by the lunar regolith.

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Confirmation of water on the Moon

The Moon
The Moon

The Clementine and Lunar Prospector spacecraft had detected lots of hydrogen on the Moon, which strongly argued for the existence of water. Traces of water was also found in moon rocks brought back by the Apollo mission. However, the detected hydrogen might have been from sources other than water or could just be unattached protons from the solar wind that somehow managed to stick to the Moon, and the water in the moon rocks might have been from contamination when they were brought back to Earth, so the existence of water on the Moon has continued to be in question.

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Chandrayaan-1 crashes into the Moon

The Moon from the Moon Impact Probe
The Moon from the Moon Impact Probe

Joining the rank of previous lunar impactors, the Moon Impact Probe from India's Chandrayaan-1 has successfully crashed into the Moon. Now which country will be next to join the club of nations that have sent probes to the Moon? And how long will it take for India to send a successful lunar lander?

One thing I haven't heard much about is new scientific results from the impactor. I wonder how they would compare with those that we'll get from LCROSS next year?