Instrument aboard Chandrayaan detects first X-ray signature from Moon

January 24th, 2009 - 12:03 pm ICT by ANI  


Washington, Jan 24 (ANI): The C1XS X-ray camera, aboard Indias Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, has successfully detected its first X-ray signature from the Moon.

The C1XS has been jointly developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the UKs STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

In orbit around the Moon on the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, C1XS detected the X-ray signal from a region near the Apollo landing sites.

This is the first step in its mission to reveal the origin and evolution of our Moon by mapping its surface composition.

The solar flare that caused the X-ray fluorescence was exceedingly weak, approximately 20 times smaller than the minimum C1XS was designed to detect.

C1XS has exceeded expectations as to its sensitivity and has proven by its performance that it is the most sensitive X-ray spectrometer of its kind in history, said Shyama Narendranath, Instrument Operations Scientist at ISRO.

The X-ray camera collected 3 minutes of data from the Moon just as the flare started and the camera finished its observation.

The signal reveals the X-ray fingerprint of a part of the lunar surface.

As the mission continues, C1XS will build up a detailed picture of the ingredients that have gone into the Moon.

Despite the small quantity of data, our initial analysis and modelling shows that C1XS has identified the chemistry of this area of the Moon, said Barry Kellett, instrument scientist from STFCs Space Science and Technology Department.

According to Professor Manuel Grande, Principal Investigator, Aberystwyth University, The quality of the flare signal detected from the Moon clearly demonstrates that C1XS is in excellent condition and has survived the passage of Chandrayaan-1 through the Earths radiation (or van Allen) belts with very little damage.

This is excellent news for the rest of the Chandrayaan-1 mission, he added. (ANI)

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