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Friday, December 1, 2023

Russian area company chief blames many years of inactivity for Luna-25 lander’s crash on the moon

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LONDON — The pinnacle of Russia’s area company mentioned Monday that the Luna-25 spacecraft crashed into the moon after its engines did not shut down accurately, and he blamed the nation’s decades-long pause in lunar exploration for the mishap.

The pilotless Luna-25 had been scheduled to land Monday whereas aiming to turn into the primary spacecraft to the touch down on the south pole of the moon, an space the place scientists imagine necessary reserves of frozen water and valuable parts could exist.

Roscosmos Director Normal Yury Borisov mentioned the spacecraft’s engines had been turned on over the weekend to place Luna-25 right into a “pre-landing orbit” however didn’t shut down correctly, plunging the lander onto the moon.

“As an alternative of the deliberate 84 seconds, it labored for 127 seconds. This was the primary motive for the emergency,” Borisov instructed Russian state information channel Russia 24.

Roscosmos had contact with the spacecraft till 2:57 p.m. native time Saturday, when communication was misplaced and “the system handed into an open lunar orbit and crashed into the floor of the moon,” he mentioned.

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The lunar mission was Russia’s first since 1976, when it was a part of the Soviet Union. Solely three nations have managed profitable moon landings: the Soviet Union, america and China.

“The damaging expertise of interrupting the lunar program for nearly 50 years is the primary motive for the failures,” Borisov mentioned, including “it might be the worst determination ever” for Russia to finish this system now.

The Luna-25 was in a race with an Indian spacecraft launched on July 14 to be the primary to achieve the south pole. Each had been anticipated to achieve the moon between Aug. 21 and Aug. 23.

A earlier Indian try to land on the moon’s south pole in 2019 ended when the spacecraft crashed into the moon’s floor.

Luna-25 launched from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East on Aug. 10. The spaceport is a pet challenge of Russian President Vladimir Putin and key to his efforts to make Russia an area superpower.

Earlier than the launch, Roscosmos mentioned it needed to point out Russia “is a state able to delivering a payload to the moon,” and “guarantee Russia’s assured entry to the moon’s floor.”

Following the crash, the Russian area company mentioned the moon mission was about guaranteeing long-term “protection functionality” in addition to “technological sovereignty.”

“The race to develop the moon’s pure assets has begun,” Borisov mentioned Monday. “Sooner or later, the moon will turn into a super platform for the exploration of deep area.”

Sanctions imposed on Russia because it launched a battle in Ukraine almost 18 months in the past have affected its area program, making it tougher to entry Western expertise.

The Luna-25 was initially meant to hold a small moon rover, however the concept was deserted to scale back the load of the craft for improved reliability, analysts mentioned.

The lunar south pole is of specific curiosity to scientists, who imagine the completely shadowed polar craters could include frozen water within the rocks that future explorers might rework into air and rocket gasoline.

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