Chandrayaan-2 spectrometer maps abundance of sodium on moon for first time

Tags: Science and Technology

The X-ray spectrometer ‘CLASS’ instrument on the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter has mapped an abundance of sodium on the moon for the first time, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation.

Important facts

  • This is the first attempt to measure sodium on the lunar surface on a global scale using X-ray fluorescent spectra.

  • CLASS was built at the U R Rao Satellite Centre of ISRO in Bengaluru. 

  • This report has recently been published in 'The Astrophysical Journal Letters'.

  • The new findings from Chandrayaan-2 provide an opportunity to study surface-exosphere interactions on the Moon.

X-Ray Fluorescence

  • It is commonly used to study the structure of matter in a non-destructive way.

  • When the Sun generates a solar flare, a large amount of X-ray radiation falls on the Moon, triggering X-ray fluorescence.

  • CLASS measures the energy of incoming X-ray photons from the Moon and calculates the total number.

  • The energy of the photon indicates the atom (for example, sodium atoms emit X-ray photons of 1.04 keV) and the intensity indicates the number of the atom.

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