If you thought the Chandrayaan Mission was over a few months ago, please be prepared to be proven wrong. After scrutinizing evidence garnered from various scientific instruments aboard the Chandrayaan, the NASA had last year announced the presence of “little” amount of water on the moon. It was back then, hailed a very significant discovery. A few months down the lane, NASA’s Mini SAR probe aboard the Chandrayaan has managed to discover significant amount of water on the moon in an area near the north pole of our closest celestial neighbor. The mini SAR is a very small scientific instrument that weighs less than 10 kgs.
The news was announced by NASA this week. NASA scientists revealed that they expect to find at least 600 million metric tons of water- ice in the area riddled with craters. The number of these craters is believed to be around 40 and range in 2 to 15 kms in diameter. These craters are usually colder than the surrounding areas and have been long thought to be the best places to look for water on the moon. Jason Crusan, a NASA spokesperson, said, “After analyzing the data, our science team determined a strong indication of water ice, a finding which will give future missions a new target to further explore and exploit.”
The Chandrayaan I mission was India’s first attempt at sending its own probe to the moon. The spacecraft was launched aboard a modified PSLV rocket back in October 2008. The mission was officially declared abandoned after the ISRO lost contact with the Chandrayaan just a little less than an year since the Chandrayaan was in Orbit. However, in a short span of time, the Chandrayaan mission was able to unravel many secrets of the moon, which was hitherto unknown to us – the significant presence of water being the latest. Chandrayaan had, on board, eleven experimental payloads of which five were Indian, three from the European Space Agency (ESA), two from U.S. and one was from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.