Chandrayaan-2 detects high density plasma
In another finding, data from India’s Chandrayaan-2 orbiter has shown that plasma density in Moon’s ionosphere in the wake region — a region of the Lunar ionosphere that does not directly interact with the solar wind — is at least one order of magnitude more than that present in the day side.
- India’s second lunar mission, which was launched on 22 July 2019, carried several payloads, among which, the Dual Frequency Radio Science (DFRS) was designed to study the lunar ionosphere.
- It was conceptualised and jointly developed by Space Physics Laboratory (SPL) of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), UR Rao Space Centre (URSC) and Isro Telemetry, Tracking, and Command Network (Istrac).
- Pointing out that Moon’s ionosphere, which derives its origin from the atmosphere believed to be very tenuous, Isro said, the plasma density was considered to be only a few hundred ions per cubic centimetre.
- DFRS uses two coherent signals at the S-band and X-band of radio frequencies, transmitted from Chandrayaan-2 orbiter and received at the ground station in Byalalu, Bengaluru, to explore the lunar plasma ambiance using the radio occultation (RO) — a remote sensing technique used to measure physical properties of a planetary atmosphere — technique.
- Isro said that 12 RO experiments have been conducted in campaign mode on four different occasions based on carefully selected geometry suitable for RO measurements.