Russia’s Luna-25 unmanned spacecraft has crashed into the Moon due to loss of control, marking Russia’s first lunar mission in nearly half a century. The mission aimed to be the first to land on the Moon’s south pole, targeting an area believed to contain frozen water and valuable elements. Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, announced the loss of contact with Luna-25, stating that preliminary findings revealed the 800kg lander had collided with the lunar surface and “ceased to exist.” A special commission will investigate the mission’s failure. The incident underscores the decline of Russia’s civilian space program as military funding increases.
This mission rivalry with India’s Chandrayaan-3, set to land on the Moon’s south pole soon, adds significance to the loss. The region’s permanently shadowed areas could potentially contain water. India’s Isro expressed regret over the Luna-25 crash, acknowledging the challenges of space missions. Roscosmos recognixed the risk of the Luna-25 mission, which launched from Vostochny Cosmodrome and successfully entered lunar orbit before its crash. Luna-25 aimed for a soft landing just before India’s Chandrayaan-3. While the US and China have softly landed on the Moon’s surface, no country has touched down on the south pole. Luna-25 was Russia’s first lunar mission since 1976, part of the Soviet Union, and its predecessor Luna-24 achieved a successful landing.