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Chandrayaan discovers mini-magnetosphere

Last Updated: Friday, November 13, 2009 - 22:31

Bangalore: After confirming the presence of
water on the lunar surface, India`s Chandrayaan-1 mission has,
for the first time, discovered mini-magnetosphere that would
throw light on the "inventory" of Hydrogen on the moon, a top
space scientist said today.

SARA (Sub-keV Atom Reflecting Analyser), an instrument on
board the country`s first lunar orbiter, has made the
discovery, Dr Anil Bhardwaj, the Principal Investigator for
SARA, said.

The present concept on the inventory of Hydrogen on the
moon would change now, he said, while addressing the platinum
jubilee meeting of the Indian Academy Sciences here.

"The amount of inventory of Hydrogen on the lunar surface
would be much different than we thought earlier. It would be
lesser (than previously thought)," he said.

Bhardwaj, Head, Planetary Science Branch at ISRO`s Space
Physics Laboratory, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in
Thiruvananthapuram, said there was a "theoretical conjecture"
that probably the small magnetic field can form
mini-magentosphere on moon.

SARA`s findings are "first confirmation that prove that
mini-magnetosphere can exist with such small magnetic field".

"This is the first step towards the confirmation of a
theoretical suggestion that mini-magnetosphere can be
produced," he said.

SARA was built jointly by scientific groups from Sweden,
India, Japan and Switzerland.

Bhardwaj said the findings on mini-magnetosphere are
under submission and would be published in scientific journal

SARA has also for the first time detected ion fluxes on
the "night side" of Moon. "Moon is a huge source of energetic
neutral hydrogen atoms. 15-20 per cent of the impinging solar
wind protons (on the lunar surface) are reflected back as
neutrals," Bhardwaj said.

"The amount of hydrogen which is being implanted on the
lunar surface is reduced (as one out of every five protons
incoming from the solar wind rebounds from the moon`s
surface). You have less amount of hydrogen getting absorbed on
the lunar surface," he said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, November 13, 2009 - 22:31
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