NASA has released photographs that reportedly show the impact site of Russia’s Luna 25 Moon mission, which crashed on the lunar surface last month. The images were captured by imaging systems on board NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a robotic spacecraft stationed in the Moon’s orbit that is capable of taking high-resolution photos.
Using data provided by Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, the NASA team managed to locate the likely impact point along the inner rim of the Pontecoulant G crater. By comparing these findings with previous photos of the area, the researchers discovered what appears to be a 10-meter wide impact crater that is believed to be the final resting place of the Luna 25 probe.
According to NASA officials, the proximity of the new crater to the Luna-25 estimated impact point leads them to conclude that it is likely from that mission rather than a natural impactor. This supports the claim made by Roscosmos that the Russian craft failed to touch down in late August due to an engine issue, which has prompted an investigation into the incident.
Roscosmos head Yury Borisov explained that the engine shutdown did not occur as planned, lasting 127 seconds instead of the intended 84 seconds. Despite the mission’s failure, Borisov highlighted the valuable experience gained by Roscosmos engineers during the construction of Luna-25. He assured that they will take into account the mistakes made and expressed hope for the success of future missions like Luna-26, 27, and 28.
It is worth noting that Luna-25 aimed to land near the lunar south pole, an area known for its rough terrain. Previous lander missions by various nations have primarily touched down in the equatorial regions. The fact that Luna-25 successfully reached lunar orbit and sent back high-resolution photos before the crash is significant progress for the Russian space program.
These recent developments in lunar exploration highlight the ongoing efforts of different nations to study the Moon and its potential as a future destination for human space exploration. The collaboration between NASA and Roscosmos in analyzing the impact site of Luna-25 demonstrates the importance of international cooperation in advancing scientific knowledge and space exploration.
As space agencies continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in space exploration, incidents like the Luna-25 crash serve as valuable learning experiences for future missions. The data and lessons gathered from setbacks like these will undoubtedly contribute to the development of safer and more successful missions in the future.