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Scientists Search for Ice as India Completes Moon Walk

India’s lunar success sparks hope for water discovery and scientists are in search for ice on the moon.
India’s lunar success sparks hope for water discovery, and scientists are in search for ice on the moon. Credit: Mick Baker / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

India’s lunar rover has finished its exploration on the moon and has now been placed in sleep mode, all within a mere two weeks after its historic landing near the moon’s southern pole. Now, the search for ice on the moon is something the world is focusing on.

According to the Indian Space Research Organization, the rover has successfully completed its designated tasks and is now safely parked, entering sleep mode. Daylight on that lunar region dwindles.

The organization conveyed this information in a statement released on Saturday, September 2, 2023. “Currently, the battery is fully charged,” it was said. “The solar panel is oriented to receive the light at the next sunrise expected on September 22, 2023. The receiver is kept on. Hoping for a successful awakening for another set of assignments!”

Furthermore, the rover’s instruments and equipment have been turned off, and the valuable data it gathered has been transmitted back to Earth through the lander.

It’s worth noting that the Chandrayaan-3 lander and rover were originally designed to function for just one lunar day, which corresponds to fourteen Earth days.

News about frozen water

There hasn’t been any news yet about whether the rover found frozen water on the moon’s surface. Such water could be crucial for future astronaut missions, as it could serve as a potential source of drinking water or even be used to make rocket fuel.

In the previous week, the space agency reported that the moon rover did confirm the presence of sulfur and also detected several other elements.

Using its laser-induced spectroscope instrument, the rover identified aluminum, iron, calcium, chromium, titanium, manganese, oxygen, and silicon on the moon’s surface.

All this data has safely made its way back to Earth. Initially, Indian scientists will take a close look at it, and then the global scientific community will join in the analysis.

India becomes the fourth nation to land on the moon

India’s recent triumph in landing on the moon marks a significant achievement, especially considering a previous unsuccessful attempt in 2019.

With this success, India joined an exclusive club of countries, including the United States, the Soviet Union, and China, as the fourth nation to achieve such a remarkable milestone.

This accomplishment highlights India’s growing reputation as a technology and space leader, aligning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of showcasing India as a rising power on the global stage.

The mission, which began over a month ago, came at an estimated cost of $75 million. It’s worth noting that Russia’s Luna-25, which was also targeting the same lunar region, faced a setback as it entered an uncontrolled orbit and ultimately crashed. This mission aimed to mark Russia’s return to successful lunar landings after a hiatus of forty-seven years.

Comparison of Russian and Indian space mission

The leader of Russia’s state-controlled space agency, Roscosmos, has attributed the failure of Russia’s lunar mission to a lack of expertise. This shortage of expertise was a result of the extended hiatus in lunar research that followed the last Soviet mission to the moon back in 1976.

In contrast, India has been actively engaged in space activities since the 1960s. It has achieved numerous milestones, such as launching satellites for both its own use and for other countries. One notable accomplishment was successfully placing a satellite into orbit around Mars in 2014.

Looking ahead, India is gearing up for its inaugural mission to the International Space Station, slated for the upcoming year. This mission will be carried out in collaboration with the United States, marking another significant stride in India’s space endeavors.

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