ISRO update: Chandrayaan
According to the Indian Space Research Organization, the Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter's X-ray spectrometer "CLASS" has for the first time mapped an abundance of sodium on the moon (ISRO).
It was reported that the Chandrayaan-1 X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (C1XS) discovered sodium from its distinctive line in X-rays, opening up the potential of studying the sodium content of the Moon.
The national space agency stated in a statement on Friday that Chandrayaan-2 used CLASS (Chandrayaan-2 Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer) to map the abundance of sodium on the Moon for the first time in a recent study that was published in "The Astrophysical Journal Letters."
According to the statement, "built at the U R Rao Satellite Centre of ISRO in Bengaluru, CLASS provides clean signatures of the sodium line thanks to its high sensitivity and performance."
The research concludes that a portion of the signal may originate from a thin layer of sodium atoms that are only loosely connected to the lunar grains.
If these sodium atoms were a component of the lunar minerals, they would be less susceptible to being pushed out of the surface by solar wind or UV light. The surface sodium is also shown to vary during the day, which would help to explain how the exosphere is sustained by a constant flow of atoms.
This alkali element's presence in the thin atmosphere of the moon, where atoms seldom ever collide, is an intriguing feature that increases interest in it.
According to the statement, this area, known as the "exosphere," starts at the moon's surface and stretches for several thousand kilometres before merging into interplanetary space.
The ISRO stated that "The new findings from Chandrayaan-2, provide an avenue to study surface-exosphere interaction on the moon, which would aid development of similar models for mercury and other airless bodies in our solar system and beyond."
(With inputs from PTI)