Instrument on Chandrayaan-2, CLASS, designed to detect signatures of elements in the Moon’s soil, detected charged particles during the mission. This happened during the orbiter’s passage through the “geotail”.
- The region exists as a result of the interactions between the Sun and Earth.
- The geotail is a region in space that allows the best observations.
Formation of the Geotail
- The Sun emits the solar wind, which is a continuous stream of charged particles.
- These particles are embedded in the extended magnetic field of the Sun. Since the Earth has a magnetic field, it obstructs the solar wind plasma.
- This interaction results in the formation of a magnetic envelope around Earth.
- On the Earth side facing the Sun, the envelope is compressed into a region that is approximately three to four times the Earth radius.
- On the opposite side, the envelope is stretched into a long tail, which extends beyond the orbit of the Moon. It is this tail that is called the geotail.
Chandrayaan-2 Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer (CLASS)
- CLASS measures the Moon's X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectra to examine the presence of major elements such as Magnesium, Aluminium, Silicon, Calcium, Titanium, Iron, and Sodium.
- The XRF technique will detect these elements by measuring the characteristic X-rays they emit when excited by the Sun's rays.