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ISRO gets patent for manufacturing 'moon soil'

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has got the patent for its method of manufacturing highland lunar soil simulant or simply lunar/moon soil.

IANS IANS
Chennai Published on: May 21, 2020 11:42 IST
ISRO gets patent for manufacturing 'moon soil'
Image Source : PTI

ISRO gets patent for manufacturing 'moon soil'

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has got the patent for its method of manufacturing highland lunar soil simulant or simply lunar/moon soil. As a part of its Moon landing mission Chandrayaan-2, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had to prepare an artificial moon surface so that the Vikram lander and Pragyaan rover could be tested.

On May 18, the Indian Patent Office granted patent to ISRO for an invention as to the method of manufacturing highland lunar soil simulant.

The patent is valid for 20 years from the date of filing the application, i.e., May 15, 2014. The inventors are: I. Venugopal, S.A. Kannan, Shamrao, V. Chandra Babu (all from ISRO), S. Anbazhagan, S. Arivazhagan, C.R. Paramasivam, M. Chinnamuthu (all from the Department of Geology, Periyar University, Salem, Tamil Nadu) and K. Muthukkumaran from the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu.

"The surface of the earth and that of the moon are entirely different. So we had to create an artificial moon surface and test our rover and lander," M. Annadurai, who retired as Director, U.R. Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), formerly ISRO Satellite Centre, had told IANS.

Importing lunar soil like substance from the US was a costly affair and ISRO looked for a local solution as its need was about 60/70 tonnes of soil.

Many geologists had told ISRO that near Salem in Tamil Nadu, there were "anorthosite" rocks that would be similar to the features of moon soil or regolith.

The ISRO finalised to take the "anorthosite" rocks from Sithampoondi and Kunnamalai villages in Tamil Nadu for moon soil.

Annadurai said the rocks were crushed to the required size and moved to Bengaluru where its Lunar Terrain Test Facility was located and the test bed was created.

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