Russia’s State Nuclear Energy Corporation – ROSATOM’s sister concern Isotope has recently supplied Radionuclide curium-244 (Cm-244) to the Indian Physical Research Laboratory for their space program.
Cm-244 is a pure alpha-emitter that enables to determine chemical composition of any rocks and soils. The Isotope will be used in the Alpha Proton X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for analyzing the lunar surface under the Indian space program Chandrayaan-2. The launch of spacecraft is scheduled for 2018.
Earlier similar Russian Isotopes were used by USA for three NASA expeditions – Mars Pathfinder (1997), Opportunity (2004) and Curiosity (2012) to explore rock composition on Mars.
In 2014 world’s first soft landing of the Rosetta spacecraft on Comet Churyumov- Gerasimenko took place. The lander equipped with Cm-244 of Russian origin, transmitted high-accuracy data about Comet’s surface composition to Earth. At the global scale Cm-244 production is carried out only by two countries – Russia and the USA.
Development of the technologies for space research is one of the main goals of ROSATOM. For instance, Russian corporation plans to test a modern type of nuclear space engine by 2018.
Interest in space program has been growing among the emerging countries like Kenya, Nigeria and many others. Creative use of satellites may open a wide range of opportunities, from analyzing climate data to improve farming practices.