Crash into the Moon ends Russia's Luna 25 mission
Russia's ambitions for its first Moon landing mission in 47 years have come to an abrupt end after the Luna 25 lander crashed into the lunar surface. According to Roscosmos, the robotic probe impacted on August 19 at 2:57 pm Moscow time after a malfunction.
Not many details about the incident have been released by the Russian space agency, but a brief statement claims that the crash was a result of an engine misfire during a maneuver to place Luna 25 into an elliptical approach orbit in preparation for a landing on August 21 north of the crater Boguslavsky at the lunar south pole.
Instead of reaching the proper orbit, the malfunction sent the craft on a collision course with the Moon. Despite search attempts by Roscosmos, the impact site remains undetermined and an interdepartmental commission has been convened to find the exact cause of the mishap.
Launched on August 10, 2023, from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's far eastern Amur Region atop a Soyuz-2.1b rocket, Luna 25 was intended to be Russia's first lunar mission since the late Soviet Union's 1976 Luna 24.
The purpose of the mission was to be the first craft to land on the Moon's south polar regions to seek water deposits to sustain a future Russian Moon base. It was also to herald Russia's plans of an aggressive new space exploration policy despite having an economy smaller than Italy's and being engaged in a major war in Ukraine while maintaining the world's largest nuclear arsenal.