Russia's first attempt to land on the Moon since 1976 has ended in disapppointment. Ten days after its August 10th launch, Russia's state-run space agency, Roscosmos, confirmed its Luna-25 spacecraft had spun out of control and rammed into the Moon. "The apparatus moved into an unpredictable orbit and ceased to exist as a result of a collision with the surface of the Moon," Roscosmos explained in a statement. The organization initially reported the incident as an "abnormal situation" before sharing news of the crash.
Luna-25 was headed to the south pole to find water ice and spend a year analyzing how it emerged there and if there was a link with water appearing on Earth. It was also set to test drive technology and examine the regolith (the soil covering moon rock). The plan was for it to remain in the moon's orbit for five days before touching down on August 21st. Luna-25 took a range of images pre-crash, including one of the Zeeman crater, near the Moon's south pole.
🌘 Welcome to the other side of the #moon!
👉 Russia's #Luna25 has shared first pics of lunar surface – they show Zeeman crater on the moon's far side.
The ultimate goal is to land on the moon's South Pole in search of water. Looking forward to new amazing photos from space 😍 pic.twitter.com/kRlnJBFLwM
— Russia 🇷🇺 (@Russia) August 19, 2023
If successful, it would have been the first craft to land on the south pole — a title that may now go to India. Russia was racing to beat India, whose spacecraft launched on July 14th and is expected to land on the Moon on August 23rd.
Countries across the globe are gearing up for their own moon missions. Currently, the United States plans to have humans orbit the Moon in 2024 and land on it in 2025. China, Japan, Mexico, Canada and Israel are among the other nations with active plans to reach the Moon.