ISRO’s maiden mission to the Moon Chandrayaan-1 has sent images that show that Moon may be rusting along the poles.
- It was launched in 2008 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
- It is India's first mission to the moon. The mission included a lunar orbiter and an impactor.
- India launched the spacecraft using a PSLV-XL rocket.
- The mission was a major boost to India's space program, as India researched and developed its own technology in order to explore the Moon.
- Chandrayaan-1 Moon data indicates that the moon's poles are home to water that scientists are trying to decipher.
- As per the data from the Mineralogy Mapper (M3), there is the presence of hematite at the lunar poles.
- Hematite is a form of iron oxide, or rust, produced when the iron is exposed to oxygen and water.
- 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.
- Recently, NASA has found evidence of greater quantities of metals such as iron and titanium on the moon’s subsurface.
Reasons for Rusting:
- The presence of oxygen on Earth could be driving the formation of hematite. Earth’s magnetotail ferries oxygen to the moon and also blocks 99% of the solar wind during certain periods of the moon’s orbit.
- The solar wind that flows out from the sun bombards earth and the moon with hydrogen.
- Hydrogen makes it harder for hematite to form. It is a reducer, meaning it adds electrons to the materials it interacts with. That’s the opposite of what is needed to make hematite or iron to rust, which requires an oxidizer, which removes electrons.
- It will launch somewhere in 2021. 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.