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Water on Moon? Chandrayaan-2 detects H2O molecules on lunar surface

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The indigenously-developed Imaging Infrared Spectrometer aboard the Chandrayaan-2 has detected hydroxyl and water molecules. the interaction of solar winds with the lunar surface is responsible for these compounds.

Water on Moon? Chandrayaan-2 detects H2O molecules on lunar surface
The Moon, our planet’s lone satellite, has long been thought to be anhydrous -- for its complete lack of water. However, the Chandrayaan-2 has discovered hydroxyl and water molecules on the lunar surface.
In a stunning new discovery, the indigenously-developed Imaging Infrared Spectrometer (IIRS) aboard the Chandrayaan-2 has detected hydroxyl and water molecules. Thanks to its range of 0.8-3 micrometers, the spectrometer successfully distinguished the two without any ambiguity.
The IIRS is specifically designed to measure the reflected solar radiations and thermal emissions from the lunar surface. It was developed by the Space Applications Centre (SAC) of ISRO, which is based in Ahmedabad, to collect information critical for understanding the mineral composition of the lunar surface. Every element has a unique ‘spectral signature’ and this spectrometer can precisely identify elements thanks to its broad range.
The ISRO scientists published the paper in the latest issue of the Current Science journal and stated that the spectral analysis will provide new inputs about geology and geophysics of the Moon’s mantle in terms of their mineralogy, chemical composition and solar-wind interaction.
Chandrayaan-2 is ISRO’s second mission to the Moon, which was launched on July 22, 2019, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
“It includes an orbiter, lander and rover for detailed analysis of lunar topography, mineralogy, surface chemistry, regolith’s thermophysical characterisation and atmospheric composition,” according to the ISRO scientists who also presented their findings in the 52nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.
During the early days of the Moon, icy comets and water-bearing asteroids/meteors were considered for the delivery of OH and H20. But the journal states that the interaction of solar winds with the lunar surface is responsible for OH and H20. This interaction is a process termed ‘space weathering.’ This is also the most common process for the formation of OH and H2O on the Moon.
This discovery could also have significant repercussions for future planetary exploration and resource utilisation.
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