Luna 25 was a Russian lunar lander mission by Roscosmos in August 2023 that was slated to land near the lunar south pole at the crater Boguslawsky. It was Russia’s first moon mission since the Soviet Union’s Luna-24 returned with samples from the moon in 1976. A Soyuz 2.1 rocket carrying the Luna-25 craft blasted off from the Vostochny cosmodrome, 3,450 miles (5,550 km) east of Moscow, at 2:11 a.m. Moscow time on Aug. 11. The lander was boosted out of Earth’s orbit toward the moon a little over an hour later. It entered the moon’s orbit on Aug. 16 and was due to attempt a soft landing on Monday.
The Luna 25 mission not only represents a leap forward in lunar exploration but also ignites a friendly competition with ISRO. The Indian space agency has also been actively engaged in lunar research, with its Chandrayaan missions making significant contributions to our understanding of the Moon’s composition and geological history.
This race between Roscosmos and ISRO is characterized by collaboration rather than rivalry. Both agencies share data, insights, and expertise, contributing to the collective body of knowledge about the Moon. Rather than a winner-takes-all contest, this race exemplifies the global scientific community’s shared commitment to unraveling the mysteries of our celestial neighbor.
The launch took place on 10 August 2023 from Vostochny Cosmodrome on a Soyuz-2 rocket with a Fregat upper stage. On 16 August, the probe entered lunar orbit , with a scheduled landing date of 21 August.
The lander featured a 30 kg (66 lb) payloads comprising eight Russian science instruments:
- ADRON-LR, active neutron and gamma-ray analysis of regolith
- ARIES-L, measurement of plasma in the exosphere
- LASMA-LR, laser mass-spectrometer
- LIS-TV-RPM, infrared spectrometry of minerals and imaging
- PmL, measurement of dust and micro-meteorites
- THERMO-L, measurement of the thermal properties of regolith
- STS-L, panoramic and local imaging
- Laser retroreflector, Moon libration and ranging experiments
The Luna 25 mission, with its concrete launch and landing dates, substantial budget, and promise of captivating imagery, marks a significant stride in lunar exploration. As the spacecraft sets forth on its voyage to the Moon, it simultaneously engages in a friendly competition with ISRO, highlighting the collaborative spirit that underpins humanity’s quest for knowledge and discovery. In the coming months, the world will eagerly await the revelations that Luna 25 will unveil, as we inch closer to deciphering the Moon’s secrets and expanding our cosmic horizons
But ,Roskosmos have now officially concluded that Luna-25 is lost. An orbit change burn at 1110 UTC on Aug 19 incorrectly resulted in a negative periapsis height and it appears that Luna-25 impacted the surface at 1157 UTC Aug 19. The coordinates of the impact have not been reported.
“This is sad and not the time for schadenfreude”Using the German word for a feeling of enjoyment at the suffering of another, Europe’s former space chief Jan Wörner told dpa the crash of Russia’s Luna-25 probe is a loss for the scientific community.
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