- 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,