Chandrayaan first discovered water on moon, but…

Friday, 25 September 2009 - 5:34pm IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: dna

Finding had to be confirmed by Nasa as Isro lacked technology.

India's own Moon Impact Probe (MIP) on board the country's maiden unmanned lunar craft had also detected evidence of water on the moon in a finding confirmed by US space agency Nasa which too had an instrument onboard Chandrayaan-I.

The Nasa meanwhile thanked Isro for enabling the discovery of water on moon through Chandrayaan-I.

"We want to thank Isro for making the discovery possible. The moon till now was thought to be a very dry surface with lot of rocks," NASA director Jim Green told reporters in Washington.

In Bangalore, a beaming Isro chief G Madhavan Nair said the MIP while descending from Chandrayaan-I to the moon surface about a fortnight after it was launched in October picked up strong signals of water particles. Nair's remark has triggered speculation whether an Indian space mission was the first to discover water on Moon.

"Our Chandrayaan-I has confirmed the presence of water molecules on the moon," he said.

Nair said "while the moon impact probe landed, it took nearly 25 minutes. It took some pictures that indicated these water molecules. Another instrument HYS1 to map minerals also helped Nasa's M3 in finding water."

Apart from India's MIP, the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) of Nasa on board Chandrayaan-I also confirmed the presence of water, he said. The "quantity found is much larger than what was expected which is a real finding", he added.

Isro principal scientist JP Goswami said the MIP had picked up strong signals of water particles towards polar region from 70 degree latitude to 80 degree latitudes.

The scientists, he said, significantly had indications of the finding "way back in June" but waited all these days to make it public as they wanted the findings of such a global significance to come out in a scientific journal first.

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