Chandrayaan-2 Gauges Sodium Content on Moon’s Surface


    In News 

    • Scientists from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have mapped out the global distribution of sodium on the Moon’s surface. 


    • Scientists used the CLASS instrument (Chandrayaan-2 large area soft X-ray spectrometer) carried by the second Indian Moon mission, Chandrayaan-2.
      • This is the first effort to provide a global-scale measurement of sodium on the lunar surface using X-ray fluorescent spectra. 
    • Methodology : X-ray fluorescence is commonly used to study the composition of materials in a non-destructive manner. When the sun gives out solar flares, a large amount of X-ray radiation falls on the moon, triggering X-ray fluorescence.
      • The CLASS measures the energy of the X-ray photons coming from the moon and counts the total number. 
    • Relevance : The new findings from Chandrayaan-2, provide an avenue to study surface-exosphere interaction on the moon, which would aid development of similar models for mercury and other airless bodies in our solar system and beyond
      • The amount of volatiles on the moon today can be used to test formation scenarios of the Earth-Moon system.
      •  Sodium can be used as a tracer of the volatile history of the moon,

    Chandrayaan-2 Mission

    • It was successfully launched in 2019  by GSLV MkIII-M1 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota. 
    • Mission Objectives:
      • To develop and demonstrate the key technologies for end-to-end lunar mission capability, including soft-landing and roving on the lunar surface.
      • To expand the lunar scientific knowledge through detailed study of topography, mineralogy, surface chemical composition, thermo-physical characteristics and tenuous lunar atmosphere leading to a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon.