NEWS

India’s moon rover confirms sulfur and detects several other elements

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s moon rover confirmed the presence of sulfur and detected several other elements near the lunar south pole as it searches for signs of frozen water nearly a week after its historic moon landing, India’s space agency said Tuesday.

The rover’s laser-induced spectroscope instrument also detected aluminum, iron, calcium, chromium, titanium, manganese, oxygen and silicon on the lunar surface, the Indian Space Research Organization, or ISRO, said in a post on its website.

The lunar rover had come down a ramp from the lander of India’s spacecraft after last Wednesday’s touchdown near the moon’s south pole. The Chandrayan-3 Rover is expected to conduct experiments over 14 days, the ISRO has said.

The rover “unambiguously confirms the presence of sulfur,” ISRO said. It also is searching for signs of frozen water that could help future astronaut missions, as a potential source of drinking water or to make rocket fuel.

The rover also will study the moon’s atmosphere and seismic activity, ISRO Chairman S. Somnath said.

On Monday, the rover’s route was reprogrammed when it came close to a 4-meter-wide (13-foot-wide) crater. “It’s now safely heading on a new path,” the ISRO said.

The craft moves at a slow speed of around 10 centimeters (4 inches) per second to minimize shock and damage to the vehicle from the moon’s rough terrain.

After a failed attempt to land on the moon in 2019, India last week joined the United States, the Soviet Union and China as only the fourth country to achieve this milestone.

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