Chandrayaan-2 IIRS Releases Images Of Moon’s Surface


ISRO has released the first image of the lunar surface captured by the Imaging Infrared Spectrometer (IIRS) payload onboard Chandrayaan-2. The Indian Space Research Organisation shared the first image on its official Twitter handle, which shows an illuminated picture of the Moon's surface. The image covers the far-side of the northern hemisphere of the lunar surface.

Chandrayaan-2 IIRS Releases Images


Chandryaan-2 IIRS

The Chandryaan-2's IIRS is "designed to measure reflected sunlight from the lunar surface in narrow and contiguous spectral channels," ISRO's tweet said. In other words, the IIRS can measure the reflected sunlight, along with emitted Moonlight from the lunar surface. It is designed to measure in narrow and contiguous spectral channels (bands) ranging from ~800 - 5000 nanometre (0.8-5.0 micrometer (um), ISRO said in a statement.

The mechanism used by the IIRS is 'grating' that splits and disperses the reflected sunlight and other emitted components into different spectral bands. ISRO says that IIRS has an objective to understand the origin and evolution of the Moon in a geological context. The spectrometer will map the surface to evaluate the mineral and volatile composition "using signatures in the reflected solar spectrum," ISRO said.

Chandrayaan-2 IIRS First Image

The picture from IIRS shows few prominent lunar craters like the Sommerfield, Stebbins, and Kirkwood. ISRO has further explained the preliminary analysis of the images. The IIRS "could successfully measure the variations in the reflected solar radiation that bounces off the lunar surface from different kinds of surface types...". These surface types include central peaks like Stebbins, crater floors like the Stebbins and Sommerfield.


Also, the IIRS has mapped "very fresh reworked ejecta associated with small craterlets within the crater floor of a large crater (example Sommerfield) and also the sun-illuminated inner rims of craters (example Kirkwood)," ISRO said. The space agency further explained that these variations are mainly because of the mineralogical or compositional variations. It could also be due to space weathering.

Chandrayaan-2 IIRS Releases Images

Chandrayaan-2 Vikram Lander

ISRO and NASA are still working on locating the Vikram lander. ISRO has lost all communications with the lander since September 7 when the Vikram was supposed to soft-land on the Moon' south pole. NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter had conducted a flyby in an attempt to find the lander. The NASA LRO team has said they would conduct a rigorous search for the lander again.

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