Mysterious Moon for ISRO: Special Investigation

Mysterious Moon for ISRO:  Special Investigation

There are many moons in our solar system; each planet has more than one moon except our earth! Scientists assume that the formation of moon is due to collision between earth and Mars sized planet known as Theia at beginning in the formation of our solar system. Today, the surface of moon is encompassing much mysterious information for scientist to explore. Indian space research organization is one of the top research organizations in the world focusing on physical elemental investigation of surface of moon. In the blog we are going to tell, why the moon is so special for ISRO.


The Prime Minister of India Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced the Moon project programme  on his Independence Day speech on 15th August 2003. In the continuation  the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched Chandrayan -1 under programme in October 2008 for investigation of chemical , mineralogical and photo-geologic mapping at the height of 100Km from the  moon surface and operated until August 2009.

After ten years, ISRO launched the  Chandrayaan-2  from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh in   July 2019. The objectives of the Chandrayaan-2 lander were to demonstrate the ability to soft-land and operate a robotic rover on the lunar surface. However, the lander crashed when it deviated from its intended trajectory due to software glitch while attempting to land.

After four years , ISRO once again launched  Chandrayaan-3.  from Second Launch Pad  in  the Satish Dhawan Space Centre  on 14 July 2023, at 2:35 pm IST as scheduled, and  successfully soft landed  in the Moon's southern polar region on 23 August 2023 at 6:04 pm IST  as planned.

Since Chandrayaan-3 comprises Vikram Lander and Pragyan Rover and both are  equipped with advanced measurement instruments to support  research . The primary objective of Chandrayan- 3 is to soft land on the southern pole of region on the moon and   as expected  take multiple measurements i.e.  the composition of the moon  surface, the presence of water ice in the moon  soil, the history of moon  impacts, and the evolution of the Moon's atmosphere.

After successfully soft landing on southern pole of moon surface, primary finding will be the density and temperature of Moon’s ionosphere. According to ISRO , Moon’s ionosphere is mixture of ions and electrons in the approx. 100-kilometre-thick layer of electrically charged plasma that surrounds the Moon’s surface near the south pole.

The finding is that there is the huge temperature difference,  approximate 50 degree centigrade,  between  20-30 mm inside from the moon surface  and 80 mm height from the surface of  the moon is very interesting.

Next finding is elemental analysis of the moon surface, scientists confirmed various minerals as expected e.g..  Al (Aluminum), Ca (Calcium), Fe (Iron), Cr (Chromium), Ti (Titanium), Mn (Manganese), Si (Silicon), and O(Oxygen) in oxide forms and also existence of  sulphur in the south pole region which  revealed that it could be a sign of the presence of water ice and searching of hydrogen is underway .

Next finding is the detection of Moonquake or the impact of a tiny meteorite   recorded by the lander’s seismograph as expected.

 Now, lander and  rover now in sleep mode due to closure of luner day in moon  and scientist hope to awaken them at lunar dawn.

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Dr. Pankaj Srivastava
Associate Professor
Department of Physics
Jaipur National University, Jaipur, India