Russian civilian space agency Roscosmos said on Sunday that its Luna-25 spacecraft crash-landed on the Moon’s South Pole and was completely destroyed.
The craft was due to be the first ever to land on the Moon’s south pole, but failed after encountering problems as it moved into its pre-landing orbit.
It was set to explore a part of the Moon which scientists think could hold frozen water and precious elements.
Preliminary findings showed that the 800kg lander had “ceased to exist as a result of a collision with the surface of the Moon”, it said in a statement.
The loss of Luna-25 is a blow to Roscosmos. Russia’s civilian space programme has been in decline for several years, as state funding is increasingly directed towards the military.
Russia was racing to the Moon’s south pole against India, whose Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft is scheduled to land there in the coming days and send a rover to explore the rocks and craters, gathering data and images to send back to Earth.
Roscosmos on Saturday said that in accordance with the flight program of the spacecraft, the output of an impulse was provided for the formulation of its pre-landing orbit. Soon after the news of Luna-25’s crash-landing was confirmed, Indians on X, formerly Twitter, were quick to lift up the spirits of Russians.
They said that Russians have been the champions of space for decades and were the first ones to launch Moon missions.
SL Kanthan, a social media user, said that landing is the most challenging part of these space missions. He said Russia has been the leader in space for decades. Kanthan also said that the erstwhile Soviet Union was the first country to soft land on the Moon in 1966, with the Luna-9.
“Russia’s rover #Luna25 has crashed on the surface of the moon. The landing part is the most difficult in these missions. But this is science. And Russia has been the leader in space for decades. So, next time,” he wrote in a post on X.
He further said in his post that Russians were the first ones to do a spacewalk in March 1965. In March 1965, Russian astronaut Alexei Leonov became the first person to float freely outside a spacecraft in Earth’s orbit. Leonov ventured from Voskhod 2 in 1965 and his spacewalk lasted only 12 minutes.
That sucks. Russia’s rover #Luna25 has crashed on the surface of the moon. 😪
The landing part is the most difficult in these missions.
But this is science. And Russia has been the leader in space for decades. So, next time. 💪🏻 🇷🇺 pic.twitter.com/fsfeGZWob2
— S.L. Kanthan (@Kanthan2030) August 20, 2023
Luna-25’s crash landing came a day before its planned landing on the lunar South Pole. With this, Russia’s lunar mission came to an end after nearly five decades. Luna-25 was launched on August 10 and entered into lunar orbit on August 16. It was to soft-land on Monday, two days before Chandrayaan’s scheduled landing.
Source: Business Today.