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Chandrayaan-3: 10 elements discovered on lunar surface since first human-led mission on Moon – Business Today

Just one week following ISRO’s historic lunar landing, Chandrayaan-3 has already achieved notable advancements in its operations. The mission has successfully verified the existence of several chemical elements on the southern lunar surface
According to an official statement, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced that the Pragyan rover used the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) instrument to identify the existence of sulphur, iron, and various other elements on the lunar terrain. Here is a list of ten elements unveiled through Chandrayaan-3 and other space agency’s expeditions on the lunar surface, along with their potential uses
On Tuesday, the Pragyaan rover transmitted its second observation, verifying the existence of sulphur near the Southern Pole of the Moon. Sulphur is recognised for its capacity to effectively absorb impurities, making it potentially valuable for shielding the Moon’s water ice from the influence of detrimental substances. Sulphur finds utility in a variety of sectors, including the production of automotive batteries, fertiliser formulation, oil refinement, water treatment etc
ISRO deployed an impact probe from Chandrayaan-1 on November 18, 2008, while positioned at an altitude of 100 km (62 miles). Throughout its descent, the Altitudinal Composition Explorer (CHACE) aboard Chandra collected 650 mass spectra readings, revealing indications of water. The hydrogen component within the water ice could serve the purpose of extracting oxides present in the lunar soil, thereby enabling extraction of more oxygen
Aluminium has been discovered on various parts of the Moon. The use of engines powered by a combination of aluminium and liquid oxygen has been under examination by lunar scientists due to the abundant presence of both these elements within lunar soil. Specifically, highland soil contains approximately 13% aluminium and 40% liquid oxygen. This implies the possibility of procuring propellant directly from the Moon’s resources
European Space Agency’s SMART-1 detected calcium on Moon for the first time. Calcium displays flexibility and outstanding electrical conductivity in oxygen-devoid conditions. While anorthite is scarce on Earth, its abundance is conspicuous on the lunar surface. Calcium finds application in the production of silicon-based solar cells
Iron is widely present within all mare basalts, comprising approximately 14-17% of their weight. However, the majority of this iron is tightly bound within silicate minerals like pyroxene and olivine, as well as within the oxide mineral ilmenite in lowland regions. Extracting iron from these sources would require substantial energy input
Chromium serves diverse roles across industries. It strengthens steel, creates rust-resistant stainless steel, and forms unique alloys. Chromium plating provides a mirror finish to steel and plastics. Chrome-tanning dominates leather production, despite concerns over toxic waste. In chemistry, chromium compounds act as catalysts and pigments, producing vibrant colours. Rubies owe their red hue to chromium, and treated glass gains an emerald green tint
Titanium can be combined with elements like iron, aluminum, vanadium, and molybdenum to generate resilient and lightweight alloys crucial for aerospace applications. Predominantly found within the mineral ilmenite (FeTiO3), titanium accounts for approximately 5-8% of the total weight. Among the extensive flood basalts in the northwest nearside, particularly in Mare Tranquillitatis, the lunar terrain boasts some of the highest titanium concentrations, exceeding Earth’s rock content by tenfold
Magnesium is detectable in lunar magmas and within minerals such as pyroxene and olivine,[51] leading to the supposition that its prevalence might be greater within the lower strata of the lunar crust.[52] Magnesium finds diverse applications in the form of alloys, contributing to aerospace, automotive, and electronics industries
On the lunar surface, the proportion of Oxygen is slightly diminished.. Over 40 percent of the lunar crust consists of oxygen, which is mixed within minerals, forming compounds known as oxides in conjunction with various other elements. In April 2023, NASA confirmed the feasibility of extracting oxygen from available lunar resources, thereby furnishing essential supplies for human sustenance and facilitating interstellar travel
Silicon is a prevalent metalloid within all lunar substances, constituting roughly 20% of the overall weight. Its significance is immense, serving as a vital component for crafting solar panel arrays that harness sunlight for electricity conversion. However, attaining the requisite high purity level for semiconductors presents a formidable challenge, particularly within the lunar setting
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