Pragyan rover discovers Oxygen, Titanium, Silicon, and Sulfur on the Moon’s South Pole

The Pragyan rover discovered traces of elements such as aluminum, iron, chromium, titanium, and sulfur at the lunar south pole. This is monumental, and it will have far-reaching consequences when we establish a lunar colony.

The Chandrayaan-3 mission from India appears to be a gift that keeps on giving. Following reports about the varying temperature of the soil at the lunar south pole a few days ago, ISRO released an update last night that is expected to have far-reaching implications for India’s space program, as well as those of other countries.

The Chandrayaan-3 mission’s Pragyran Rover discovered traces of aluminum, calcium, iron, chromium, titanium, manganese, silicon, and, most importantly, oxygen in the Moon’s soil. Sulphur has also been discovered on the lunar surface by ISRO.

ISRO also confirmed the discovery of sulphur in the moon’s soil, which is a huge breakthrough. ISRO announced on X (previously Twitter) that the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) instrument onboard the Rover unambiguously confirms the presence of Sulphur (S) in the lunar surface near the south pole, through first-ever in-situ measurement. Al, Ca, Fe, Cr, Ti, Mn, Si, and O are also detected, as expected. Search for Hydrogen (H) is underway. LIBS instrument is developed at the Laboratory for Electro-Optics Systems (LEOS)/ISRO, Bengaluru.

Despite the fact that these elements were already known to exist on the Moon, the Pragyan Rover’s discovery is crucial for future interplanetary missions.

Aluminum, iron, chromium, titanium, and other elements have been found at the lunar south pole, which suggests that the Moon has a large deposit of these minerals. As a result, the Moon is more hospitable than we had anticipated and could be used to mine for its natural resources, particularly if we establish a colony there.

The finding of oxygen in lunar soil also confirms that the moon’s surface was nt always dry and that it could have once been ideal for the development of vegetation and, consequently, agriculture. This would imply that it is feasible to restore the Moon’s fertility, especially if ISRO discovers significant water ice deposits.

The Pragyan Rover will keep looking for hydrogen, specifically H-3, after discovering these elements on the Moon. One of the most crucial elements of the Chandrayaan-3 mission is this. Currently, scientists are highlighting how crucially time-sensitive the rover’s operations are.

ISRO is diligently working to ensure that the rover thoroughly explores the vast, unexplored terrain of the lunar south pole. The lander and rover are currently focused on gathering as much data as they can, after which they will start aiding in their analysis.

The mission’s timeline is constrained, Nilesh M. Desai, the director of the Space Applications Centre, explained, with only 14 days available in total—one lunar day. This short window of time is significant because it is required to carry out a wide range of experiments and research during these ten days. The more tests and research we can conduct in the next ten days, the better. We have 10 days to complete the most work possible, and all of the ISRO scientists are working on it, so we are in a race against time, he said.