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Chandrayaan-1 Payload Feature #5: X-Ray Spectrometer (C1XS) February 2, 2009

Posted by Nick Azer in Chandrayaan, Chandrayaan-1, Chandrayaan-1 Payload Features, Indian Space Research Organization.
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Today is the fifth in a series of features on each of the Indian lunar orbiter Chandrayaan-1’s scientific payloads. The Chandrayaan-1 has 11 scientific instruments onboard to complete an array of measurements: five Indian instruments, and six from other nations and organizations (including the ESA and NASA).

For this edition, we look at one of the international payloads that made news last month– the ESA‘s Chandrayaan-1 X-ray Spectrometer (C1XS).

Chandrayaan-1 X-ray Spectrometer (C1XS)

The C1XS (pronounced like “kicks”) is, as a spectrometer, a device to measure the electronic structure of materials—in this case, the lunar surface.

This kind of imaging helps determine what the Moon is composed of. Nancy Atkinson at UniverseToday.com provided an excellent description of the above chart in her great article on the device’s first results:

“The red curve shows the combined signal from all 24 C1XS X-ray detectors during the solar flare at 02:35-02:38 UT on Dec. 12th. The black dashed line shows the normal background signal detected by C1XS. The three “fingers” sticking up between 1 and 2 keV are due to the presence of the elements magnesium, aluminium and silicon (left to right) on the Moon. ” -Nancy Atkinson, UniverseToday.com, “Chandrayaan-1 Instrument Detects First X-ray Signature from Moon

Silicon, while not as high-profile as helium-3 in regards to the Moon, is a substance seen as having some lunar mining potential. It’s used most notably for solar panels, which are (of course) critical to lunar colonies.

These kinds of results over time will go a long way towards figuring out how the Moon was formed, and more about its selenographic nature in general.

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Keep checking back here for more payload features, Chandrayaan-1 news, and a complete wealth of updates and information about the base race, private space boom, and everything else under the Moon :)

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