Mission Luna-25: The Russian mission that crashed created a new crater on the Moon | The USA Print

Mission Luna-25: The Russian mission that crashed created a new crater on the Moon | The USA Print

The Russian Luna-25 mission recently concluded with a hard landing on the Moon, inadvertently creating a major lunar crater.

The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, confirmed that Luna-25’s journey came to an abrupt end when it entered an uncontrolled orbit and subsequently collided with the Moon on August 19 at 11:57 UTC.

This lunar mishap left an indelible mark (a substantial crater) on the lunar surface.

Prompted by Roscosmos’s publication of the estimated landing location on August 21, NASA launched an investigation using its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

Beginning on August 24, the LRO captured a sequence of images showing the newly formed crater, which measures approximately 33 feet in diameter. This crater lies along the inner rim of Pontécoulant G crater, about 248 miles from Luna-25’s intended landing site.

“The most recent ‘before’ image of the area by LRO was captured in June 2022 (…); therefore, the crater formed some time after that date. Since this new crater is close to the estimated impact point of Luna 25, the LRO team concludes that it is likely to have come from that mission, rather than a natural impactor.” NASA said in a statement.

A GIF that switches between LRO views of June 27, 2020 and August 24, 2023, before and after the Luna 25 mission crash.

This discovery adds to the catalog of lunar craters, which currently amounts to 9,137 according to the International Astronomical Union. However, data from China’s Chang’e lunar orbiter suggests that the actual count may be considerably higher, potentially reaching 130,001.

The remains of Luna-25 join a large amount of human-made debris on the surface of the Moon. Approximately 200 tons of terrestrial debris, including wreckage from crashed spacecraft, discarded rocket propellants, human waste, flags, a Bible, and even golf balls, now share space with this new lunar crater.

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Yury Borisov, director of Roscosmos, provided information about the Luna-25 accident and attributed it to a malfunction of the probe’s maneuvering engine. Reportedly, the spacecraft’s thruster ignited for 127 seconds instead of the intended 84 seconds, ultimately causing the crash landing.

Speculation abounds that the Luna-25 mission was sped up to outpace the India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission to land on the south pole of the Moon. India’s uncrewed landing achieved perfect success, making it the first country to achieve this feat. In the race to the lunar south pole, Russia’s gamble did not yield the desired result.

Keep reading:
· Russia’s lunar mission ends in failure when the spacecraft crashes into the Moon
· India rover confirms presence of sulfur on the Moon

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