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India’s Moonlanding Makes History and New Discoveries

Indias Moonlanding Makes History and New Discoveries

There was no guarantee of making the landing in one piece. Previous attempts lead to failure after failure. Nevertheless, India had a mission…

The Chandrayan-3 mission made India the first country to successfully reach the lunar south-polar region with safe landing and roving. Its newly updated and improved lander and rover configuration demonstrates India’s redemption from the failure of Chandrayaan-2’s mission. India’s success marked a pivotal moment in history; becoming only the fourth country to ever land on the moon. 

On August 23, 2023, two friends from India, Vikram and Pragyan, Chandrayan-3 mission’s lander and rover robots, touched the surface of another planet at 8:33 a.m. ET. Unfortunately, the Indian Space Research Organization put Vikram and Praygan in sleep mode to survive in the harsh environment of the lunar night. The Moon’s immense freezing temperatures of -200 degrees Celsius approved ISRO’s decision for the robots to temporarily rest. However, with the time spent in full operation, ISRO had made a few new discoveries: 

The Moon’s Ionosphere 

According to ISRO, Vikram delved deep into the moon’s ionosphere to measure its electron densities; “ranging from 5 million to 30 million per cubic meter.” Since the density fluctuates as the lunar day progresses, ISRO scientists have concluded that “The density of the ionosphere would affect lunar communication and navigation systems if humans were to inhabit the Moon…” The higher the electron density is on the moon, the longer time it takes for radio signals to travel through the ionosphere. Furthermore, there are still invaluable insights into future lunar communication technology. 

Suspected Moonwake

The lander’s seismograph records various vibrations on the Moon. However, one specific vibration has caught the attention of Marc Norman, a planetary geochemist at the Australian National University in Canberra, as the instrument seemed to “…have recorded a very small seismic event that decayed to the background in about 4 seconds.” ISRO has suspected these vibrations from a moonwake or the impact of a miniature meteorite. While there are no particular effects from tectonic adjustment, Norman proposes that a global seismic network on the Moon and long-term observations can help “understand the significance of any particular event.” 

Sulfur Confirmed 

Praygan’s unexpected findings have confirmed the presence of sulfur in the lunar surface. While the rover found elements of aluminum, silicon, calcium, and iron, Anil Bhardwaj, director of ISRO’s Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad, suggests that “Sulfur, being volatile, is not generally expected.” Since sulfur is a key element of molten rock, there is a chance that hot molten rock was layered on top of the primitive Moon; crystallizing to form the Moon’s rigid and rocky surface.  

The Indian Public has already taken great pride in the accomplishments of their nation’s space program. But Chandrayan-3’s discoveries alone have opened up the discussion of a multipolar world. India’s leadership role continues to rise as it works to solve global solutions that impact the future beyond human life. 

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About the Contributor
Bree Kuliga
Bree Kuliga, Staff Editor
Bree Kuliga is currently a senior at Quakertown High School. This is her first year as a staff writer/editor for paw prints. Bree enjoys all things writing, traveling, attendingconcerts, and performing. Her goal is to hopefully attend college as a musical theater major. Bree is looking forward to finishing out the rest of her senior year!

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