Unexpected Glitch on Luna-25’s Journey: What Happened?

Russia’s spacecraft Luna-25 recently faced unexpected trouble while entering its scheduled pre-landing orbit on its way to land on the moon.

The Luna-25 Mission

On August 10, 2023, Russia sent its first spacecraft to the moon in almost 47 years. This mission was similar to Chandrayaan-3, which was also heading to the moon around the same time. Both missions want to land on the moon’s south pole and explore the lunar environment, investigating elements in the moon’s vicinity such as minute dust particles and plasma.

The Luna-25 Mission
The Luna-25 Mission

Luna-25 Landing date and site:

The Luna-25 was expected to land on the moon on the 21st of August, 2023. Its target is the region near the southern pole of the moon, specifically located at 69.545°S, 43.544°E. This landing area lies to the north of the Boguslavsky crater, a large pit on the lunar surface. The crater is a significant geological feature formed by past impacts and serves as a notable reference point for lunar exploration.

What happened to Luna-25? A Technical Glitch?

Unexpected Glitch Alters Spacecraft’s Planned Maneuver

While the spacecraft was operating, something unexpected occurred within the automatic station. “During the operation, an abnormal situation occurred on board the automatic station, which did not allow the maneuver to be performed with the specified parameters,” ROSCOSMOS stated briefly.

This problem acted as a barrier, stopping the spacecraft from doing a planned maneuver as intended. This incident disrupted the usual sequence of events. Maneuvers are well-thought-out actions used to achieve specific goals, like reaching a certain place or changing course for science. In this case, the spacecraft was supposed to perform a maneuver but faced an issue that prevented it from happening as planned.

Did ROSCOSMOS Solve the Spacecraft Issue?

The Russian space agency, ROSCOSMOS, is looking into a problem their spacecraft encountered while trying to enter a pre-landing orbit. The agency’s team confirmed they got some early info about the moon’s soil chemistry, Additionally, the spacecraft’s equipment detected a “micrometeorite impact,” as reported by the Associated Press.

Roscosmos said something strange happened while the spacecraft was working, which made it unable to do a planned move as it wanted. They’re not sure exactly what went wrong, so their experts are checking everything to figure it out.

Luna-25’s Abrupt Crash Landing on the Moon’s Surface 

The spacecraft ended up in an unexpected orbit and unfortunately crashed into the moon’s surface. ROSCOSMOS declared on Sunday afternoon that Luna-25 had experienced a crash landing on the surface of the moon. Despite all the measures taken, the spacecraft was unable to be saved from its collision with the lunar surface. Even with efforts to establish communication, these attempts didn’t work.

What Has Luna-25 Discovered So Far?

The Luna-25 mission has already provided a glimpse into the lunar landscape, sharing images of the moon’s Zeeman crater; a noteworthy achievement. Anticipation was high as Luna-25 was supposed to make a historic landing on Monday, a mere two days before an Indian mission was scheduled to touch down. The spacecraft captured images of the Zeeman crater, distinguished as the third largest in the moon’s southern hemisphere. The images showed the crater’s remarkable features: a wide diameter spanning 190 kilometers (118 miles) and a depth of eight kilometers (five miles). 

Discover the Distinctions Between the Luna-25 and Chandrayaan-3 Missions in this Blog: How India’s Lunar Mission Chandrayaan-3 Stands Apart from Luna-25