Russia’s first moon landing mission in 47 years ended in a crash on Saturday, August, 19. The spacecraft flew out of control and crashed into the moon. Roscosmos launched the spacecraft on August 10 from the Vostochny spaceport in the Far East, intending to perform a maneuver and enter a circular orbit around the lunar south pole before landing on this region on Monday.
But during the mission, the spacecraft failed to perform maneuvers as planned after some issues arise while in flight. Why did the Luna-25 spacecraft crash into the moon? Continue reading to find out.
Why the Luna-25 spacecraft crashed into the moon
On August 10, Roscosmos launched the Luna-25 spacecraft to conduct a soft landing on the lunar south pole after 47 years of the last lunar exploration. However, Russia failed to safely land its powerful lunar lander on the moon’s surface due to some issues. A few hours before Roscosmos confirmed the crash, the spacecraft experienced communication failure and technical glitches as well.
The Russian space agency suggests that something must have gone wrong for the spacecraft to fail in performing the maneuver as initially planned. Roscosmos announced that its professionals were analyzing the issue hoping to find a suitable solution. However, the early communication failure of the space vehicle made it challenging for Russian specialists to figure out the actual problem and determine if it would affect their first landing attempt after 47 years.
“An abnormal situation occurred on board the automatic station, which did not allow the maneuver to be performed with the specified parameters,” Roscosmos said.
According to Reuters, Roscosmos revealed that it lost contact with the Luna-25 spacecraft a little while after the crash.
“The apparatus moved into an unpredictable orbit and ceased to exist as a result of a collision with the surface of the Moon,” Roscosmos said.
Roscosmos Primary Objective For the Luna-25 Mission that crashed into the moon
Russia was hoping to resurrect its lunar exploration goals starting with the Luna-25 mission. The lunar space probe was built to study the lunar soil. It’s also made to find signs of water ice in the permanently shadowed craters close to the south pole. The outcome of this mission could have revealed Russia’s technological progress in exploring the nearest celestial body to Earth.
Note that water ice is a valuable resource that will assist space agencies accomplish their future missions to the moon. This is because water ice can be transformed into useful liquid for the crew, and can also be converted into rocket fuel and air. Luna-25 traveled to the moon carrying a scientific payload that consist of instruments to study the chemical composition of the moon’s surface, its plasma environment, and its magnetic field.
As the spacecraft approach the moon on Saturday, (August 19), the Russian Space Agency revealed that the probe obtained its first results from these powerful instruments and sent them to Earth. The obtained data consist of information revealing the chemical elements of the lunar soil. The transmitted data also revealed a micrometeorite impact on the Luna-25 spacecraft. Roscosmos also revealed some detailed images of the moon as captured by the spacecraft’s camera system.
These images enabled us to see the Zeeman crater, which is one of the largest craters residing in the southern hemisphere of the lunar surface. This massive crater has a diameter of about 190 kilometers (118 miles) and a depth of eight kilometers (five miles). However, the impactful crash of the Luna-25 spacecraft that crashed into the moon is a huge blow to Roscosmos, as the Russian space agency has been attempting to maintain the space exploration visions of the formal Soviet Union.
Future Missions to the Moon
Russia has not attempted any lunar mission since its last Luna-24 mission in 1976. However, the Luna-25 mission was the first soft landing Russian mission to the south pole of the moon. Russia was racing against India to become the first to land a spacecraft on the lunar south pole. While the Russian Luna-25 spacecraft has ended in a disaster, India’s Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft is making its way to land on the moon’s south pole this week. Once the Chandrayaan-3 space probe successfully lands on the moon, India will join the list of world powers that have landed a probe on the moon, including the United States, China, and the former Soviet Union.
Luna 25 was one out of three lunar landing missions scheduled to reach the moon. Japanese Space Agency is working on launching the SLIM spacecraft on August 25 to test precision landing technologies. The spacecraft will head to the moon with an X-ray astronomy observatory atop an H-2A rocket. It will attempt to land close to the Shioli crater on the moon after four to six months from now.
Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft crashed into the moon’s surface on August 19. This impactful crash occurred after the spacecraft suffered communication failure and technical glitches. It ruined Russia’s attempt to join other world powers in exploring the lunar surface with modern rovers. While all hope is lost for the Luna-25 spacecraft, Roscosmos will likely make another attempt to reach the moon soon. What do you think about this crash?