NEW DELHI: A spectroscopic instrument on board Chandrayaan-2's orbiter has taken the first illuminated image of the lunar surface with an objective to map the mineral and lunar composition. The data will help in understanding the origin and evolution of Moon.
At a time the orbiter's payloads are busy scanning the Moon, Nasa's orbiter LRO, present in the lunar orbit, has sent latest pictures of the south pole region where Isro's Vikram lander had made hardlanding and making all "rigorous" efforts to find the exact location of the lander.
The orbiter's Imaging Infrared Spectrometer (IIRS) has captured the first illuminated image that covers part of the lunar farside in the northern hemisphere. Few prominent craters like Sommerfield, Stebbins and Kirkwood are seen in the image. IIRS is designed to measure reflected sunlight and emitted part of Moon light from the lunar surface in different spectral bands ranging from 800 to 5,000 Âµm. It will also do complete characterisation of water/hydroxyl.
Preliminary analysis of the data sent by the orbiter suggests that IIRS could successfully measure variations in the reflected solar radiation that bounces off the lunar surface from different kinds of surfaces like crater peaks, crater floors and sun-illuminated inner rims of craters. The variations in the spectral radiance are primarily due to the mineralogical variations that exist in the lunar surface. More detailed analysis is expected to yield results on the heterogeneity of the lunar surface composition, Isro said.
Meanwhile, Nasa's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter took fresh set of pictures of the south pole region on October 14 under better lighting conditions as compared to the first set of images taken on September 17, when it was dusk on Moon and long shadows covered much of the terrain. Nasa experts are still analysing the images sent by LRO as the area captured is vast and are making "a rigorous search" to look for the Vikram lander, says LRO project scientist Noah Petro, an agency report said. He said that LRO will next fly over the south pole region on November 10.
During the final descent on September 7, Vikram had made hardlanding on the moon surface and the Isro control room lost contact with the lander. An expert committee of Isro has been looking into the reasons for the "communication loss" with the lander during the final moments and is likely to submit the probe report to the PMO.