The Russian spacecraft Luna-25 crashed on the moon ahead of its landing attempt, putting an end to the supposed space race between ISRO and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos to the southern pole of the lunar surface,
Luna-25, which was designed to study the unexplored parts of the moon for a year, failed even before landing, as it suffered glitches during a pre-landing procedure just above the lunar surface. The spacecraft encountered a catastrophic failure shortly after a critical manoeuvre, as it was being positioned into its pre-landing orbit on Saturday.
Declaring the mission failed, Roscosmos, said, ‘At about 14:57 Moscow time, communication with the Luna-25 spacecraft was interrupted. The measures taken on August 19 and 20 to search for the device and get in contact with it did not produce any results. Due to the deviation of the actual parameters of the impulse from the calculated ones, the device switched to an off-design orbit and ceased to exist as a result of a collision with the lunar surface.’
Luna-25, according to Roscosmos, spun into an uncontrolled orbit before crashing into the moon’s surface.
Luna-25 was supposed to land on the south pole of the Moon on Monday, August 2.
Russia’s objectives with Luna-25 were the same as India’s, to find if the unexplored region actually had some of the elements needed to process to form water. It was designed to collect samples from nearly 15 centimeters below the surface and conduct in-situ chemical analysis. The findings could have ushered in a new era of astrobiology and chemistry.
The south side of the moon is being looked at as a catapult to further exploration into the solar system, with the US, China, Japan, and Europe, all planning to go to the moon and study it in their own ways, from the US ‘Artemis manned missions to China’s Chang’e spacecraft.
If successful, these missions are bound to have both scientific benefits as well as cultural significance.
Between 1969 and 1972, six NASA missions took place in which twelve people walked on the surface of the moon, all of them men.
At the time, for such a high-risk mission, the most experienced astronauts were required and there were no women at NASA who had suitable test flight experience.
For a long time, space was viewed as an industry primarily for men, and it wasn’t until 1978 that NASA selected its first female astronauts.
As of March 2022, seventy-five women have been to space, and the Artemis moon missions will serve as a reminder of changing times, as NASA selects the first female astronauts to return to the moon with manned missions.
All eyes for now are on India, which is on the cusp of landing the Chandrayaan-3 in the same region.
While the lander of the Chandrayaan-2 mission had failed to make a soft touchdown on lunar surface, its orbiter is still in lunar orbit and helping to ensure the success of Chandrayaan-3. In fact, it has already played an important role in identifying a relatively safe landing spot for Chandrayaan-3.
Armed with learnings from the Chandrayaan-2 mission and with smooth progress thus far, ISRO is confident the Chandrayaan-3’s ‘Vikram lander’ will have a successful turn this time around.
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