Chandrayaan-1 also found new types of rocks

Yet another feather has been added to the cap of India’s Rs 386-crore lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1; it has not only discovered water molecules but also new types of rocks. This was announced on Monday by Carle Pieters, principal investigator of Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), a Nasa payload on board Chandrayaan-1 which detected water molecules along with indigenous Moon Impact Probe and Hyper Spectral Imager.

He was addressing scientists associated with Indian moon mission which won international acclaims and awards at the sixth Chandrayaan-1 scientific meeting, organised by Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), an autonomous organisation, under Isro. The scientific data from Chandrayaan-1 is being analysed at PRL.

Pieters said: "M3 has discovered new rock types which are very small. They are unusual and we are in the process of analysing them." Significantly, this discovery was made on the far side of the moon. Former Isro chiefs — K Kasturirangan, Madhavan Nair and U R Rao and a number of foreign delegates including a few associated with the Japanese mission to the moon, Kaguya, were present at the meeting which will end on Tuesday.

Pieters told TOI the type of minerals found in the new type of rocks is common. "But what is surprising is that their combination is uncommon. This is a very valuable piece of information," she said, adding geo chemists could analyse the data.

A scientist attached to Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre, A S Arya, told the gathering that an analysis of the high resolution imagery of the indigenous terrain mapping camera (TMC) has resulted in identifying "lunar tubes." He said the opinion among a section of scientists is that these "tubes" could be utilised for a potential human settlement in future. These tubes could provide much-needed protection to a human colony on the moon.

Source: TimesofIndia