Recently, RAMBHA-LP payload on board Chandrayaan-3’s lander Vikram has completed the first in-situ measurements of the surface-bound lunar plasma environment over the south polar region.
About RAMBHA-LP Payload:
- The Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive ionosphere and Atmosphere - Langmuir Probe, named after American chemist and physicist Irving Langmuir, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
- It is a device used for characterising plasma.
- The probe operates without interruption, aiming to explore the changes occurring in the near-surface plasma environment throughout the lunar day.
- The device features a 5 cm metallic spherical probe mounted on a 1-metre boom attached to the Chandrayaan-3 lander’s upper deck.
- It was led by Space Physics Laboratory (SPL), Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram.
- Key findings
- The initial assessment indicates that the plasma near the lunar surface is relatively sparse.
- It is characterised by a number density ranging from approximately 5 to 30 million electrons per cubic meter.
- This evaluation specifically pertains to the early stages of the lunar daytime.
Q1) What is the Ionosphere?
The Ionosphere is part of Earth’s upper atmosphere, between 80 and about 600 km where Extreme UltraViolet (EUV) and x-ray solar radiation ionizes the atoms and molecules thus creating a layer of electrons. the ionosphere is important because it reflects and modifies radio waves used for communication and navigation