The Luna 25 mission met a tragic end as a Russian spacecraft collided with the Moon. Originally slated to touch down near the lunar south pole, Russian authorities confirmed the craft’s loss on Sunday, August 20th.
Concerns about the Luna 25 mission first surfaced on Saturday, August 19th, when Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, reported an “abnormal situation” via Telegram. The spacecraft had been in lunar orbit and was preparing for a landing scheduled for the following week. However, issues arose during an attempt to adjust its orbit.
The exact cause of the problem is still unknown, but it resulted in the spacecraft entering an uncontrolled orbit and ultimately crashing into the lunar surface.
This unmanned mission aimed to land in a region of the Moon’s south pole never before visited by spacecraft. This area holds significant scientific value due to the belief that permanently shadowed craters there contain water ice.
Water ice is a crucial resource for future lunar missions, particularly NASA’s plans for extended crewed lunar stays, which are more ambitious than previous brief visits.
Russia’s mission faced competition from India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission, which also aspires to land on the Moon’s south pole and was scheduled for an attempted landing in the same timeframe. Recent years have witnessed a resurgence of interest in lunar exploration, although only the United States, the Soviet Union, and China have successfully landed on the Moon thus far.
Even today, landing an unmanned spacecraft on the lunar surface remains a formidable challenge, with recent failed attempts including Israel’s Beresheet and India’s Chandrayaan-2 in 2019, as well as Japan’s Hakuto-R mission with the UAE’s Rashid rover in 2022.
Source: Digital Trends