The Russian probe Luna-25, whose mission was to be the first spacecraft to land on the South Pole of the Earth’s satellite, has crashed into the lunar surface, the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, reported this Sunday.
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“Moon-25 assumed an unforeseen orbit and ceased to exist as a result of the collision with the lunar surface,” they said in an official statement. According to the results of the preliminary analysis, the reason for the accident was “the deviation from the real impulse parameters” calculated previously.
Roscosmos has acknowledged that it had lost contact with the ship on Saturday at 2:57 p.m. local time (11:57 GMT) and attempts to resume communications this Saturday on Sunday had failed.
The agency, which on Saturday reported “an emergency situation” when the engines propelled Luna-25 into orbit prior to the moon landing, has announced that it will create a special commission to clarify the causes of the incident.
With the tragedy of the Russian automatic station, now the Indian probe Chandrayaan-3 has all the ballots to be the first to land on the moon this Wednesday at the South Pole.
The Russian probe was supposed to land on the surface of the Moon on August 21, that is, two days before the Indian probe, which was launched on July 14. The probe, which departed on August 11 from the Vostochni cosmodrome in the Russian Far East, entered orbit this Wednesday, after five days and almost ten hours of travel.
At all times, Roscosmos reported that the ship’s systems were working normally and, in fact, sent images of the lunar surface to Earth and detected the impact of a micrometeorite, among other phenomena.
Luna-25, successor to the Soviet Luna-24, the third spacecraft to collect samples from the lunar surface in August 1976, hoped to find water in the form of ice on the Earth’s satellite.
A Soviet ship, Luna-2, was already the first to land on said satellite in 1959, a feat that the US emulated years later with its Ranger program.