Monday, January 26, 2009

ESA reports C1XS on-board Chandrayaan more sensitive than expected.

The ISRO/ESA C1XS X-ray instrument on-board Chandrayaan, as reported last week, detected the presence of magnesium, aluminium and silicon in an area between the ancient mare floor landing site of Apollo 11 and the more Al rich anorthosite Descartes Southern Highlands landing site of Apollo 16 during a small solar flare.

C1XS recorded the X-ray signal from the region, December 12, and the detection is a key step in further mapping the mineralogical composition of the lunar surface. The X-ray camera collected 3 minutes of data just as the flare started.

The solar flare that caused the X-ray fluorescence was 20 times weaker than the minimum C1XS was designed to detect.

“The instrument 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 Ms. Shyama Narendranath, Instrument Operations Scientist at ISRO.

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