Context: ISRO’s maiden mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-1, has sent images which show that Moon may be rusting along the poles.
- The sign of this finding is that even though the surface of the Moon is known to have iron – rich rocks, it is not known for the presence of water and oxygen, which are the two elements needed to interact with iron to create rust.
- Scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) say that this could be because the Earth’s own atmosphere is lending a helping hand which, in other words, means that the Earth’s atmosphere could be protecting the Moon as well.
- Thus, the Chandrayaan-1 Moon data indicates that the Moon’s poles are home to water, this is what the scientists are trying to decipher.
- Chandrayaan-3 will be a mission repeat of Chandrayaan-2 and will include a Lander and Rover similar to that of Chandrayaan-2, but will not have an orbiter.
- Its launch may now take place somewhere in early 2021.
- Chandrayaan-2 mission was India’s first attempt to make a soft-landing of a rover on the unchartered South Pole of the lunar surface.
- However, the lander Vikram hard-landed in September last year.
- India’s first mission to the Moon Chandrayaan-1, launched in 2008, had given clear evidence on the extensive presence of surface water and the indication for subsurface polar water-ice deposits.
The Moon Exploration
- Luan 9 (Soviet Union) was the first unmanned lunar soft landing and first picture from the lunar surface.
- Lunokhod 1 (Soviet Union) was the first robotic rover to explore the surface of the moon.
- Chang’e 3 (China) was the first non-Soviet rover on the Moon; first rover after a gap of 40 years.