In a revelation that has left scientists and space enthusiasts alike in awe, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has unveiled groundbreaking findings from its Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) onboard the Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander. The experimental payload was designed to delve into the temperature variations on the lunar surface, shedding light on the Moon’s thermal behavior.
ISRO’s recent update on social media platform ‘X’ shared the unexpected results, leaving senior scientist B H M Darukesha amazed. “We all believed that the temperature could be somewhere around 20 to 30 degrees centigrade on the surface, but it is 70 degrees centigrade. This is surprisingly higher than what we had expected,” Darukesha revealed.
The ChaSTE payload, developed by a collaborative effort led by the Space Physics Laboratory (SPL) of ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad, incorporates a temperature probe with controlled penetration capabilities. This mechanism can delve up to 10 centimeters beneath the Moon’s surface, collecting vital temperature data.
The accompanying graphic illustrates temperature variations across various depths, showcasing fluctuations from a sweltering 70 degrees Celsius to a bone-chilling -10 degrees Celsius. Scientist Darukesha emphasized the significance of this variation, comparing it to the Earth’s surface temperature behavior.
Interestingly, while the Earth’s surface exhibits only minor temperature fluctuations a few centimeters below, the Moon’s surface presents an astonishing 50-degree centigrade variation. Such findings are set to reshape our understanding of lunar geophysics and heat distribution.
This landmark revelation comes on the heels of ISRO’s remarkable success with Chandrayaan-3, which successfully touched down on the lunar surface, making India the fourth nation to achieve this remarkable feat. As a tribute to these achievements, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared the landing site of Chandrayaan-3 as ‘Shiv Shakti Point,’ signifying India’s prowess in space exploration. Additionally, the anniversary of this achievement will now be celebrated as ‘National Space Day,’ underscoring the nation’s dedication to scientific progress.