An experiment on board India’s first moon mission Chandrayaan-I has indicated that there are abundant iron containing minerals on the lunar surface. According to news reports, data sent back to earth by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument of the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) indicates abundance of iron-bearing minerals such as pyroxene.
The M3 is one of the 11 different instruments on board the unmanned Chandrayaan, which was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre near the southern Indian city of Chennai on October 22. Out of those 11 instruments, 5 were indigenously built by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), while 3 were from the European Space Agency, 2 from NASA and 1 from Bulgaria.
The M3 had sent back images of the Orientale Basin on the western limb of the moon taken during the commissioning phase of Chandrayaan- I, Carle Pieters, a senior scientist from the US-based Brown University and principal investigator for the M3 experiment, was quoted as saying.
He said analysis of the data suggests there were large reserves of iron-bearing minerals on the lunar surface.
“The M3 provides us with compositional information across the moon that we have never had access to before,” Pieters said, adding that the data provided a new level of detail to explore and understand the moon.