Exploring the Moon is going to get much more interesting. ISRO has filed a patent for its method of manufacturing highland lunar soil simulant. The stimulant is the key component here and the procedure has ticked all the boxes like mineralogy, bulk chemistry, grain size distribution, and geo-mechanical properties.
Going into the details, the Business Standard reports that ISRO made the stimulant in bulk from similar rock samples identified and picked out from Sittampundi Anorthosite Complex, almost 67 km from Salem, in Tamil Nadu. The best part of the ISRO's patent is that its cost-effect way of preparing the lunar stimulant, making it easy to scale up and reproduce.
ISRO Patents Lunar Stimulant
The simulant is quite similar to the loose unconsolidated rock and dust or regolith of the lunar highland region. With this in hand, ISRO can better control the movements of rovers for scientific exploration and even study the geotechnical, mechanical properties of the lunar soil. The stimulant is important for other reasons as it aids in making progress in lunar locomotive engineering.
To better understand the importance of the lunar stimulant, we first need to understand the Moon's surface. It is divided into bright and dark areas, where the dark areas are called Maria or mare and are mostly flat. Next are the highlands, which are mainly craters and mountainous regions.
ISRO's patent application claims that most countries have produced stimulants of the lunar mare region. On the other hand, ISRO claims to have developed a lunar stimulant of the highlands, which occupies 83 percent of the Moon, aiding future lunar exploration.
ISRO Lunar Stimulant For Chandryaan-3
To recall, the ISRO Chandryaan-2 mission was India's first Moon landing experiment. However, the lander had a hard-landing and brought the mission an end. The mission was certainly complicated as it brought together an Orbiter, a Lander, and a Rover to explore the Moon's South Pole. The Chandryaan-2 aimed to study all areas combining the exosphere, the surface, and the sub-surface of the satellite.
According to reports, the ISRO Chandryaan-3 mission has a similar configuration. The new lunar stimulant is going to be a big help, especially for lunar exploration with the new lander.