China’s Chang’e-5 lunar exploration mission
Recently China’s Chang’e-5 lunar exploration mission has found the first on-site evidence of water on the lunar surface.
- Initially, the presence of water was confirmed only by remote observation. But the lander has now received signs of water in the rocks and soil.
- It has also been known that possibly the reservoirs formed in the mantle of the Moon had dried up. For this reason there is no presence of water on the moon.
- Earlier, data obtained from India’s Chandrayaan-1 (year 2008) had found evidence of water in the Moon’s exosphere and on the Moon’s surface and sub-surface.
- In addition, Chandrayaan-2 (year 2019) had confirmed the presence of water ice in the permanently darkened regions of the Moon.
- In the coming years, many countries including India are planning to start their lunar missions.
Reasons for new interest:
- Economic: Helium-3 is abundantly available on the Moon, but it is rare on Earth. It is a potential fuel for nuclear fusion. Helium-3 is an isotope of the element helium.
- Basis for future space exploration: This is the best place to test how life responds to the harsh conditions of space.
- To study Earth: The Moon and Earth have a shared past. Studying it will reveal what the Earth’s early past was like.
Other lunar missions:
- Artemis (NASA), Volatile Investigation Polar Exploration Rover (NASA), Korea Pathfinder LunarOrbiter (South Korea), Chandrayaan-3 (India) etc.
Source – The Hindu