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WATER ON MOON
In what has been hailed as one of the biggest discoveries of the current century, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced on September 24, 2009, that the Chandrayaan-1 India’s first Moon mission had found water across the surface of large parts of the Moon. The new finding has turned conventional wisdom on its head as scientists had long held the view that the Earth’s only natural satellite is bone dry. As per the information released by the ISRO, the spacecraft also found indications that water is being produced in the lunar soil through interactions with charged particles stemming out from the sun.
The Moon Impact Probe, an Indian rover aboard Chandrayaan-1, elected the presence of water on its way down to land on the Moon surface. It took close-up photos that indicate the presence of water. The lunar water discovery was confirmed by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), as the instrument created by the US-based National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and carried aboard Chandrayaan-1. While expressing pride in the achievement, Nair added: “But the water is not in the form of sea or lake or puddle or drops. It is embedded on the surface in minerals and rocks?’ One of the main objectives of Chandrayaan-1 was achieved when India’s maiden Moon mission, Chandrayaan:1 found water. It is a big scientific discovery of the 21st century that scientists say will open thinking about space and boost research. Water on the Moon means molecules of water and hydroxyl (hydrogen and oxygen) that interact with molecules of rock and dust specifically in the top millimetres of the Moon’s surface. The result has helped shake off the failure tag from the Rs 386 crore.
The chandrayaan-1 project that was aborted on August 30, 2009, after it lost radio contact with Earth. It stopped sending radio signals after suffering from several technical issues including failure of the star sensors and poor thermal shielding. The ISRO then officially declared the mission over. Chandrayaan-1 operated for 312 days as opposed to the intended two years but the mission achieved 95 per cent of its planned objectives.
Chandrayaan-1, in one of the vital findings, has endorsed the lunar magma ocean hypothesis, helping the scientists better understand the history of the satellite, according to NASA scientists. Mr Carle Peters, a Professor of Brown University, USA said at a conference on September 3, 2009, that the mission had helped to observe and analyze the spread and formation of minerals on the Moon. Though water exists on many bodies in our solar system, finding it on our own Moon is breathtaking, both from a practical and theoretical point of view. It adds to our knowledge of how cosmic processes work. And it may open the way to utilizing the water on the moon for making hydrogen and oxygen—the first need for fuel and the second for life Thus, the possibility of using the Moon as a base camp for space exploration inches a wee bit closer. Until now, scientists believed that the Moon was completely barren with no signs of water.
The discovery of water molecules on Moon is all set to alter the course of Chandrayaan-2 scheduled for 2013. The second Moon mission will so if we can go beyond the analysis of soil samples and explore how we can go down further on Moon, whether we can go down a few centimetres on half a meter. The scientists will think of a deeper exploration of the Moon’s crust.