After landing on the Lunar surface area 3 and a half years earlier, China’s Chang’ e-3 lander and its ‘LUT’ (Lunar-based Ultraviolet Telescope) are still functional!
The LUT has actually been keeping track of variable stars and stars like our own Sun and also carrying out low-galactic-latitude sky studies throughout the daytime durations over Mare Imbrium, the location in which Chang’ e-3 landed.
Chang’ e-3 is still in contact with ground stations in China throughout these durations of sunshine and transferring information from LUT, which is the only instrument on the lander that is still functional.
The absence of an environment makes the Moon a prime location for UV astronomy, which is not possible at low elevations on Earth, and the LUT has actually yielded some fascinating outcomes. “The most significant scientific result from the LUT telescope is the water content in the lunar exosphere,” Wang states.
The lunar exosphere describes the almost negligible amount of particles above the Moon’s surface area. If present in the Moon’s silicate rocks, OH and H 2 O particles might be launched due to micro-meteor effects and the results of the solar wind.
The existence of considerable amounts of water on the Moon would be a considerable increase for strategies to develop a lunar environment, as carrying water from Earth for astronauts would be really pricey. It would also act as a prospective source of oxygen and propellant.
However in situ measurements performed by LUT exposed the concentration of OH/H 2 O particles to be about 2 orders of magnitude lower than the values reported by previous objectives, with the outcomes reported in a paper by Wang and others.
While the Apollo 16 mission astronauts had a manual UV telescope, LUT is the very first automated and remotely run telescope put on an extraterrestrial body.
China has its own Planetary Data System, preserved by the National Astronomical Observatories of China, which permits individuals throughout the world to gain access to and download data and stunning images from its lunar exploration missions Wang was speaking at an occasion at the Global Space Exploration Conference, which opens officially on Tuesday.
Steve Durst, director of the International Lunar Observatory Association which has Chinese partners, mentioned during a discussion at the same event that the source of power for the Chang’ e-3 lander could last for 30 years.
The lander, which was expected to run for a year, is powered by a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) and solar panels. Durst hopes that the mission will get the required assistance on Earth to continue well into the future.
Chang’e -3 was introduced in December 2013, and has returned valuable scientific information from the Moon, adding to our understanding of our celestial neighbour. Chang’ e-3 was due to awaken for its 44th lunar day on June 4.
The mission that included the Yutu rover, also made China just the 3rd nation to soft-land on the Moon, following the United States and Soviet Union, and the very first since 1970!
China’s next objective to the Moon will be the Chang’e -5 lunar sample return spacecraft, which is set to launch in November.