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Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft crashes on Moon as pre-landing manoeuvres fail

Russia’s Luna-25 crashes on the Moon.

The Luna-25 spacecraft, Russia’s first mission to the Moon in close to 50 years, has crashed into the Moon after a problem occurred during pre-landing manoeuvres, Russian space agency Roskosmos announced on Sunday.

Communication with Luna-25 was lost at 2:57 pm (1157 GMT) on Saturday, Roskosmos said.

According to preliminary findings, the lander “has ceased to exist following a collision with the Moon’s surface”, the Russian space agency said..

“Measures taken on August 19 and 20 to locate the craft and make contact with it were unsuccessful.”

The space agency said an investigation would be launched into the causes of the crash, without giving any indication of what technical problems might have occurred.

Luna 25 was scheduled to land on the Moon at about the same time as India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission. It was launched nearly a month later than Chandrayaan-3 but had travelled faster. ISRO had congratulated Russia on the launch of the mission.

The 800-kilogram Luna-25 probe was to have made a soft landing on the lunar south pole just as Chandryaan-3 is scheduled to do on August 23, the first in history.

“Congratulations, Roskosmos on the successful launch of Luna-25. Wonderful to have another meeting point in our space journies. Wishes for (India’s) Chandrayaan-3 & (Russia’s) Luna-25 missions to achieve their goals,” ISRO had said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

While Chandrayaan-3 will conduct experiments on the moon for a period of two weeks, Russia’s Luna 25 was expected to carry out its scientific studies for a full year. One of the major tasks of the mission is to examine the lunar soil and search for water.

The success of the Chandrayaan-3 mission would make India only the fourth country in the world after the US, Russia and China to land a spacecraft on the Moon.