Thanks to measurements by the D-CIXS X-ray spectrometer, ESA’s SMART-1 spacecraft has made the first ever unambiguous remote-sensing detection of calcium on the Moon.
Calcium in Mare Crisium
SMART-1 is currently performing the verification and calibration of its instruments, while it runs along its science orbit, reaching 450 kilometres from the Moon at its closest distance. During this calibration phase, which precedes the actual science observations phase, the SMART-1 scientists are getting acquainted with the delicate operations and the performance of their instruments in the warm environment of the lunar orbit.
Although it is still preparing for full lunar operations, D-CIXS has started already sending back high-quality data. D-CIXS is designed to measure the global composition of the Moon by observing how it glows in X-rays when the Sun shines on it. In fact, different chemical elements provide their ‘fingerprinting’, each glowing in a unique way.
Bernard H. Foing | alfa
Major discovery in controlling quantum states of single atoms
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