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Pragyan rover finds Oxygen, Titanium, Silicon and Sulphur on Moon’s south pole. Here’s why it is important

India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission seems to be a gift that keeps giving. After sharing reports about the varying temperature of the soil at the lunar south pole a couple of days ago, ISRO shared an update last night that is set to have huge ramifications on India’s space program and those in other countries.

The Pragyran Rover of the Chandrayaan-3 mission has found traces of aluminum, calcium, iron, chromium, titanium, manganese, silicon, and, most importantly, oxygen in the soil of the Moon. ISRO has also found Sulphurf on the lunar surface.

What Chandrayaan-3 has found on the Moon
ISRO also confirmed that it had found Sulphur in the Moon’s soil, another massive discovery. In a post on X, ISRO said that thanks to its ongoing in-situ experiments, the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) instrument onboard the Pragyan Rover has determined and confirmed the presence of Sulphur in the lunar surface near the south pole.

While scientists and researchers were aware of the presence of these elements on the Moon, the discovery made by Pragyan Rover is vital for interplanetary missions.

The discovery of these elements is essential.
The discovery of elements such as aluminum, iron, chromium, titanium, etc., at the lunar south pole indicates that the Moon has a rich deposit of these minerals.

This, in turn, means that the Moon is more hospitable than we had thought and could be used to mine for its natural resources, especially when we set up a colony up there.

The discovery of oxygen in the Moon’s soil also reaffirms that, at one point, the land on the Moon was not always arid, and at once, it could have been well suited for the growth of vegetation and, by extension, even agriculture. This would mean it is possible to make the Moon fertile again, especially if ISRO finds large deposits of water ice.

Chandrayaan-3 is in a race against time.
Having found these elements on the Moon, the Pragyan Rover will continue looking for hydrogen, specifically, H-3. This is one of the most critical aspects of the Chandrayaan-3 mission.

Scientists are currently emphasizing the time-sensitive nature of the rover’s operations. ISRO is diligently working to ensure the rover covers the expansive uncharted terrain of the lunar south pole as much as possible. Right now, the rover and the lander are focused on gathering as much data as possible, after which it will start helping in analyzing them.

Nilesh M. Desai, the Director of the Space Applications Centre, conveyed that the mission’s timeline is tight, affording a mere 14 days total, equivalent to one lunar day. The significance of this tight timeframe lies in the necessity to conduct various experiments and research during these ten days. “The more experiments and research we can do in the remaining ten days will be important. We are in a race against time because we have to do maximum work in these ten days, and all the ISRO scientists are working on it,” he said.

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