ISRO reported on Tuesday that the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) instrument equipped on the ‘Pragyan’ rover of Chandrayaan-3 has definitively confirmed the presence of sulphur on the lunar surface near the south pole through groundbreaking in-situ measurements.
The instrument also identified elements such as aluminium, calcium, iron, chromium, titanium, manganese, silicon, and oxygen, aligning with expectations.
In its statement, the space agency explained that the LIBS technique involves analyzing material composition by subjecting it to intense laser pulses.
A high-energy laser pulse is directed at the material’s surface, creating a highly localized plasma. This plasma’s emitted light is captured, resolved spectrally, and then detected by devices like Charge Coupled Devices. The distinct wavelengths of light emitted by each element in a plasma state facilitate the determination of the material’s elemental composition.
ISRO revealed that initial analysis disclosed the presence of elements like Aluminium (Al), Sulphur (S), Calcium (Ca), Iron (Fe), Chromium (Cr), and Titanium (Ti) on the lunar surface.
Further measurements indicated the existence of manganese (Mn), silicon (Si), and oxygen (O). The agency also mentioned that ongoing investigations are exploring the presence of Hydrogen.
The LIBS instrument was developed at the Laboratory for Electro-Optics Systems at Peenya Industrial Estate in Bengaluru, where India’s first satellite was fabricated back in 1975.
On August 23, ISRO achieved a significant milestone as the Lander Module (LM) of Chandrayaan-3 successfully landed on the lunar surface. This accomplishment positioned India as the fourth nation to achieve a soft landing on the Moon and the first to reach the uncharted south pole of Earth’s satellite.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the designation of the Chandrayaan-3 Vikram lander’s landing site as ‘Shiv Shakti Point,’ and the location where the Chandrayaan-2 lander experienced a crash landing in 2019 would be recognized as the “Tiranga Point” .
August 23 was declared ‘National Space Day’ to celebrate the day when the Chandrayaan-3 lander touched down on the lunar surface, as per Modi’s announcement.