Chandrayaan 3 Discovery Oxygen Found on the Moon

Chandrayaan 3 Discovery: Oxygen Found on the Moon


In a groundbreaking achievement, India’s Chandrayaan 3 mission achieved what no other country had done before – a successful touchdown on the South Pole of the Moon. While the world celebrated this historic feat, there is an equally fascinating discovery that hasn’t received as much attention – the presence of Oxygen and Sulphur on the Moon’s surface during the Pragyan rover’s mission. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the details of this remarkable discovery and what it means for future lunar exploration.

Chandrayaan 3

Chandrayaan 3: A Brief Overview

On August 23, 2023, Chandrayaan 3 successfully landed on the Moon’s surface. The following day, on August 24, the Vikram Lander deployed the Pragyaan rover to begin its mission. ISRO kept the world informed through regular Twitter updates during this exciting journey. Over the course of 12 days, from August 24 to September 4, Vikram and Pragyaan conducted extensive observations on the lunar surface before entering sleep mode, with the possibility of waking up for further exploration.

CHaSTE: Measuring Moon’s Surface Temperature

One of the critical instruments on Vikram Lander was CHaSTE (Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment). Its mission was to measure the temperature of the Moon’s topsoil, specifically focusing on the South Pole. CHaSTE had a temperature probe equipped with 10 sensors, capable of reaching a depth of 10 cm beneath the lunar surface. The temperature readings were astonishing – showing a 10°C temperature change within just 1 cm below the lunar soil. The surface temperature hovered around 60°C, but at a depth of 8 cm, it dropped to -10°C. This dramatic temperature variation within a short distance was a significant revelation.

Chandrayaan 3

LIBS: Confirming the Presence of Sulphur

On August 28, the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) instrument confirmed the presence of sulphur on the Moon’s South Pole. This marked the first-ever in-situ measurement of sulphur on the lunar surface. LIBS, developed by Bangalore’s Laboratory for Electro-Optics Systems in collaboration with ISRO, analyzes the composition of lunar soil and rocks. It achieves this by using high-energy laser pulses to convert a small area of lunar soil into plasma, which emits light with distinct wavelengths based on the elements present. This breakthrough technology allowed the identification of multiple elements, including Aluminium, Iron, Titanium, Calcium, Chromium, and of course, Sulphur.

Oxygen on the Moon

Perhaps the most intriguing discovery was the presence of Oxygen in the Moon’s soil and rocks. Unlike Earth, the Moon lacks an atmosphere containing O2 gas. Instead, oxygen atoms exist in chemical bonds with other elements, such as silicate minerals formed from silicon and oxygen atoms. This discovery opens up exciting possibilities for future lunar missions, as it suggests that oxygen could be extracted from the Moon’s rocks. NASA had already made progress in this area, successfully extracting oxygen from lunar soil simulants. In fact, the quantity of oxygen in the topsoil of the Moon is estimated to be sufficient to sustain 8 billion people for 100,000 years.


The Role of Advanced Instruments

Chandrayaan 3 carried an array of advanced instruments, such as LIBS, APXS (Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer), RAMBHA (Radio Anatomy of Moon-bound Hypersensitive Ionosphere and Atmosphere), and ILSA (Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity). Each of these instruments played a vital role in uncovering the Moon’s secrets. APXS and ILSA, for instance, used different techniques to analyze lunar surface materials, while RAMBHA measured the natural plasma present on the Moon.

Engineers and Data Science

It’s crucial to acknowledge the engineers and data scientists behind the success of Chandrayaan 3. Engineers, in particular, played a pivotal role in developing precise instruments and advanced technology, enabling groundbreaking discoveries on the Moon. As we celebrate National Engineers’ Day on September 15, it’s a reminder of the dedication and hard work of engineers in pushing the boundaries of human knowledge and exploration.


Chandrayaan 3’s discoveries, including the presence of Oxygen and Sulphur on the Moon’s surface, have opened up exciting possibilities for future lunar exploration. These in-situ findings provide more accurate data than previous remote observations and offer insights into the Moon’s composition. As we await the possibility of Vikram and Pragyaan awakening from their sleep mode, we anticipate further revelations and advancements in lunar science and exploration. The journey to unravel the mysteries of our celestial neighbor continues, with India playing a significant role in expanding our understanding of the Moon.

(FAQs) Related to the Chandrayaan 3 mission and its discoveries:

**Q1: What is Chandrayaan 3, and why is it significant?**

A1: Chandrayaan 3 is India’s lunar mission that successfully landed on the South Pole of the Moon. It is significant because it marked India’s achievement of a successful lunar touchdown, and it made groundbreaking discoveries about the Moon’s composition.

**Q2: What were the key discoveries made during the Chandrayaan 3 mission?**

A2: The mission discovered Oxygen and Sulphur on the Moon’s surface, which are essential elements for understanding lunar geology and exploring the potential for future lunar habitation.

**Q3: How was the temperature variation on the Moon’s South Pole measured, and what were the findings?**

A3: The temperature variation was measured using the CHaSTE instrument on Vikram Lander. It revealed a significant temperature change of 10°C within just 1 cm below the lunar surface. The surface temperature was around 60°C, but at a depth of 8 cm, it dropped to -10°C.

**Q4: What is LIBS, and how did it confirm the presence of Sulphur on the Moon?**

A4: LIBS stands for Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy. It confirmed the presence of Sulphur by using high-energy laser pulses to convert lunar soil into plasma, which emitted distinct wavelengths of light. The wavelengths identified the elements present, including Sulphur.

**Q5: How can Oxygen be found on the Moon when it lacks an atmosphere like Earth’s?**

A5: Oxygen on the Moon is not present in the form of O2 gas in the atmosphere but exists within the chemical bonds of minerals, like silicate minerals. This oxygen can potentially be extracted for various uses, such as sustaining future lunar missions.

**Q6: What are some other advanced instruments used in the Chandrayaan 3 mission?**

A6: Chandrayaan 3 carried advanced instruments such as APXS (Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer), RAMBHA (Radio Anatomy of Moon-bound Hypersensitive Ionosphere and Atmosphere), and ILSA (Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity), each serving different purposes in lunar exploration.

**Q7: What is the significance of Engineers’ Day in the context of Chandrayaan 3?**

A7: Engineers’ Day is a celebration of the dedication and hard work of engineers who played a crucial role in developing precise instruments and advanced technology for Chandrayaan 3’s success. It highlights the importance of engineering in space exploration.

**Q8: What are the potential implications of the discoveries made by Chandrayaan 3 for future lunar exploration?**

A8: The discoveries, especially the presence of Oxygen and Sulphur, have opened up possibilities for future lunar missions. Oxygen extraction from lunar rocks could be crucial for supporting human habitation on the Moon, and the findings contribute to our understanding of lunar geology.

**Q9: Will Vikram and Pragyaan awaken from their sleep mode for further exploration?**

A9: There is hope that Vikram and Pragyaan may awaken from their sleep mode for additional experiments. The mission’s success will be determined when they wake up, potentially providing more insights into lunar science.

**Q10: How can I learn more about Chandrayaan 3 and lunar exploration?**

A10: You can stay updated on Chandrayaan 3 and lunar exploration by following reputable space agencies, reading scientific publications, and watching documentaries and videos related to space exploration. There are also online courses and resources available for those interested in the subject.

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