The Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) aboard Chandrayaan-3‘s Lander Vikram recently captured intriguing lunar events, shedding light on the Moon’s mysterious activities. ILSA’s primary mission is to measure ground vibrations resulting from natural moonquakes, impacts, and artificial occurrences.
On August 26, ILSA detected a natural event on the lunar surface, the source of which is currently under investigation by space experts. This discovery adds to our growing understanding of lunar activity.
Additionally, ILSA recorded vibrations generated by the rover’s movement on the Moon’s surface on August 25, providing valuable data on the rover’s mobility and the lunar terrain it traversed. To illustrate this, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) shared an acceleration-time graph showcasing ILSA’s response to the rover’s movements.
ILSA comprises a cluster of six highly sensitive accelerometers, which are devices used to measure vibrations or acceleration motion in structures. These accelerometers enabled the precise recording of lunar vibrations and rover movements.
Notably, ILSA represents a significant technological milestone as the first instance of a Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology-based instrument on the Moon. MEMS is a process technology used to create tiny integrated devices that combine mechanical and electrical components.
The core sensing element of ILSA involves a spring-mass system with comb-structured electrodes. External vibrations cause the spring to deflect, leading to a change in capacitance that is then converted into voltage.
In an earlier achievement, the Pragyaan rover, during its on-site measurements of the Moon’s south polar region, confirmed the presence of sulfur, marking an important discovery that was unambiguously confirmed through in-situ measurements, a feat not possible with the orbiters’ onboard instruments. Moreover, the presence of oxygen, calcium, and iron has been detected, and the search for hydrogen continues.
India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission made history on August 23 by achieving a soft landing near the Moon’s south pole, joining the elite ranks of countries – Russia, the US, and China – that have successfully landed on the lunar surface. This continuous exploration is unraveling the Moon’s mysteries and expanding our scientific knowledge.