Competition to Reach the Moon’s South Pole
There was a race between India’s Chandrayaan-3 and Russia’s Luna-25 to reach the Moon’s South Pole. Russia launched its Luna-25 Moon mission after India’s Chandrayaan-3, even though Russia originally intended to reach space ahead of India. Unfortunately, Luna-25 crashed during its soft landing on the Moon’s surface, causing shock in Russia.
NASA’s Discovery | Luna-25 Moon Mission
According to a report by Space.com, NASA recently revealed that its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft has identified a crater that may be linked to Russia’s lunar mission Luna-25. Luna-25’s crash occurred on August 19, and NASA believes a substantial crater was formed as a result.
Following Luna-25’s crash, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos reported it on August 21. NASA’s LRO teams then instructed the spacecraft to capture images of the site, both before and after the crash. A noticeable difference can be seen between the images, with a small new crater appearing in the later pictures, likely associated with Luna-25 moon mission. NASA began taking photographs of the crash site on August 24, completing the process in about four hours. A previous picture of the area was taken by NASA in June 2022.
The Newly Found Crater
According to NASA officials, the newly discovered crater measures approximately 33 feet (10 meters) wide and is situated at an altitude of about 360 meters at approximately 57.865 degrees south latitude and 61.360 degrees east longitude. This crater is approximately 400 kilometers away from Luna 25’s intended landing point.
Russia’s Soft Landing Plan
Russia’s mission aimed to achieve a soft landing of the unmanned Luna-25 spacecraft on the Moon’s South Pole. However, technical difficulties in establishing the orbit before landing led to the vehicle’s crash. Russia launched Luna-25 on August 10, marking its first lunar mission in 47 years.
India’s Historic Achievement
In contrast, India’s Chandrayaan-3 made history on August 23 by successfully landing the Vikram lander on the Moon’s South Pole. With this achievement, India became the first country to accomplish a landing on the Moon’s South Pole.