Although India’s ambitious Chandrayaan-2 moon mission landed hard on the lunar surface in 2019, the orbiter that accompanied it has been delivering vital data to scientists on the ground.

A scientific paper published earlier this week stated that the Chandrayaan-2 satellite confirmed the presence of water molecules (H2o) and hydroxyl (OH) on the moon’s surface.

The study’s findings were reported in the Current Science journal. The August 10 research report stated, “The initial data analysis from IIRS clearly confirms the presence of broad lunar hydration and unambiguous detection of OH and H2O signals between 29 degrees north and 62 degrees north latitude.” The imaging infrared spectrometer (IIRS) on the orbiter made the discovery.

“When compared to mare regions, which were found to have more dominance of OH at higher surface temperature,” the group of researchers who studied the IIRS data continued, “plagioclase-rich rocks have been found to have higher OH or possibly H2O molecules.”

More data will be made public in the future, according to the experts, providing a complete picture.

In July 2019, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the Chandrayaan-2 mission. However, in September of that year, the mission’s Vikram lander crashed onto the lunar surface, only 2.1 kilometres from its intended landing site.

Its orbiter, on the other hand, is still operational. According to ISRO, the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter will continue its seven-year mission to explore the Moon’s surface with its eight scientific equipment.

Chandrayaan-2 was launched with the goal of mapping differences in lunar surface composition as well as locating and researching the Moon’s surface for water.

After the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China, India would have been the fourth country in the world to land a rocket on the moon and the first to land close to the lunar South Pole.

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