Chandrayaan-1 3D photo of Moon’s surface sent by M3

Sunday, January 18, 2009, 16:43 by Tech Correspondent

More news on the Chandrayaan-1 front.UPDATE: Chandrayaan-1 has found water on the lunar surface.

The Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), one of the two instruments from NASA that is aboard the Chandrayaan-1, has sent the first 3D photo of the surface of the Moon.

Chandrayaan-1 3D color photo sent by the Moon Minerology Mapper

Chandrayaan-1 3D color photo sent by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper

On December 18, 2008, the M3 sent pictures of the lunar surface that will enable scientists to examine mineral resources of the Moon at high spatial and spectral resolution. Apart from the length and width, the M3 has provided information on a third dimension, that is color.

In the image sent by the M3 of the Orientale region, the left image in color is a composite of 28 separate wavelengths of light reflected from the Moon. The red color shows changes in rock and mineral composition, while the green shows the existence of iron-bearing minerals.

The photo on the right provides a detailed view of the surface of the Moon.

The data and photos sent by the M3 is used by scientists to study mineral resources found on the surface of the Moon.

NASA’s second instrument aboard the Chandrayaan-1, the Mini-SAR radar, has sent photos revealing the interior of the moon’s darkest and coldest craters.

These photos, sent on November 17, 2008, display part of the Haworth crater at the moon’s south pole, and the western rim of the Seares crater. The photos show the surface of permanently-shadowed polar craters on the moon that is not visible from Earth. NASA has said that the Mini-SAR instrument is being used to scan the interior of the craters for Water Ice.

Scientists will use the data collected by the Mini-SAR instrument to investigate if buried ice deposits can be found in the dark polar craters.

In November 2008, Chandrayaan-1 had sent 64-color photos of the Moon, captured by its HySI and the Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC). Earlier, Chandrayaan-1 had sent photos of the lunar surface that revealed the large craters present on it.

ISRO Chairman Madhavan Nair has said that Chandrayaan-1 has sent pictures with a resolution of 5 metres, to the base station. He also said that even the US is getting pictures with a resolution of 100 metres.

Madhavan Nair added that Chandrayaan-1 has provided more than 40,000 pictures since November 2008. This data will aid in the exploration of the moon’s surface and the minerals present in it.

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