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Luna-25 Spacecraft Crashes Into The Moon’s Surface

By: Emily Chiang

Russia's Luna-25 spacecraft, their first mission in nearly fifty years, crashed into the moon. The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, reported an "emergency" during an attempt to enter the pre-landing path for a planned Monday moon landing. After losing contact with the spacecraft and failing to locate it, Roscosmos stated that an opening analysis indicated that a collision with the lunar surface caused the spacecraft to "cease to exist." An investigation will be conducted to determine the cause.

The crash occurred as the spacecraft entered an uncontrolled path that changed from the intended path calculated by the agency. Russia had aimed to achieve a historic feat by being the first to achieve a soft landing on the moon's icy south pole. This mission marked Russia's initial moon landing effort since 1976, during the Cold War competition between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Roscosmos sent a command to initiate the pre-landing orbit, but an "emergency" prevented the spacecraft from guiding correctly. The spacecraft was launched from the Vostochny cosmodrome on August 11 and had already sent back images of the moon's Zeeman crater. It was expected to land on Monday, just before an Indian mission. The goal of the Russian mission was to study the composition of the moon's south pole, where frozen water traces had been detected by NASA and other agencies. This water is crucial for potential human settlements and space travel, as its components can sustain life and serve as rocket fuel.

Russia's moonshot project coincided with economic sanctions and international criticism due to its actions in Ukraine. Despite this, Russia remains a key partner in the International Space Station, although its aerospace sector has been affected by sanctions and limitations on Western technology, funding, and research ties.

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