On November 14, 2008, at 20:06 hours IST, the Moon Impact Probe (MIP) was separated from the Chandrayaan. It was Nehru’s one hundred and nineteen birth anniversary so it was fitting that the MIP carried the Indian flag with it. About 25 minutes later the MIP successfully impacted the moon’s surface at a predetermined site on the southern lunar pole.
MIP also carried CHACE (CHandra’s Altitudinal Composition Explorer) on board. CHACE was a sensitive instrument built to find elements present on the moon. Fifteen minutes before the MIP separation began CHACE was switched on. CHACE was built for these 25 minutes. As the MIP hurtled towards the moon surface CHACE was mapping the elements present on the moon. The scientists at ISRO were getting this data live. Within minutes, that night, they knew they had found water on the moon. In the following paper that will soon appear in Planetary and Space Science, the authors have reported their scientific findings:
‘Direct’ evidence for water (H2O) in the sunlit lunar ambience from CHACE on MIP of Chandrayaan I
R. Sridharan, S.M. Ahmed, Tirtha Pratim Das, P. Sreelatha, P. Pradeepkumar, Neha Naik and Gogulapati Supriya
Space Physics Laboratory, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Trivandram, 695022, India.
This is a wonderful achievement. This is the first evidence of water to come out of ISRO's own instruments on board the Chandrayaan.
Read: The Chandrayaan-I and Water on the Moon Series