Russia's Luna-25 spacecraft suffers technical glitch, space agency says

An "abnormal situation" occurred at Russia's Luna-25 spacecraft on Saturday as it was preparing to transfer to its pre-landing orbit, Russia's national space agency Roskosmos said.

| Updated on: Aug 20 2023, 07:24 IST
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1/7 Earth's Moon is the only place where humans have set foot outside earth. Up close, it is the brightest and the largest object in our night sky. If a single green pea is set next to a US nickel then you will have an idea about the size of the moon. (REUTERS)
2/7 The moon is moderating earth's wobble around its axis.  Which results in the earth having a stable climate. Tides are also created because of the moon. It even sets a rhythm that has guided humans for many years. (NASA)
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3/7 According to one theory, Moon was formed after a collision of Mars type of body with Earth. Earth's moon is the fifth largest planet among more than 200 planets orbiting in the solar system. It is also the earth's natural satellite. (AP)
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4/7 It was not known to people that other moons also existed until Galileo Galilei discovered four moons orbiting Jupiter in 1610. (AFP)
5/7 Moon is currently being explored by three robotic spacecraft. One is the Lunar Reconnaissance orbiter other one is the Armetis spacecraft. More than a hundred robotic spacecraft have been launched to explore the moon. (Reuters)
6/7 It goes around the earth at a distance of about 239000 miles. The earth and moon are so tidally locked and in sync that we only see one side of the moon. Humans didn't see the lunar far side until a Soviet spacecraft flew past in  1959. (AFP)
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7/7 The moon's surface is hard and rocky. And its whole surface has holes because of asteroid comets and collisions with other heavenly bodies. Moon has a thin and very weak atmosphere. One cannot breathe there. (AP)
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A model of the lunar landing spacecraft Luna-25 is on display at an exposition of the international military-technical forum Army-2023 at Patriot Congress and Exhibition Centre in the Moscow region, Russia, August 18, 2023. (REUTERS)

An "abnormal situation" occurred at Russia's Luna-25 spacecraft on Saturday as it was preparing to transfer to its pre-landing orbit, Russia's national space agency Roskosmos said.

The Russian spacecraft is scheduled to land on the south pole of the moon on Monday, part of a big power race to explore a part of the moon which scientists think may hold frozen water and precious elements.

"During the operation, an abnormal situation occurred on board the automatic station, which did not allow the manoeuvre to be performed with the specified parameters," Roskosmos said in a short statement.

Specialists are analysing the situation, it said, without providing further details.

Earlier, Roskosmos said it had received the first results from the Luna-25 mission and that they were being analysed.

The agency also posted images of the moon's Zeeman crater taken from the spacecraft. The crater is the third deepest in the moon's southern hemisphere, it said, measuring 190 km (118 miles) in diameter and eight km (five miles) in depth.

Roskosmos said data it had received so far had provided information about the chemical elements in the lunar soil and would also facilitate the operation of devices designed to study the near-surface of the moon.

It added that its equipment had registered "the event of a micrometeorite impact".

The Luna-25 entered the moon's orbit on Wednesday, the first Russian spacecraft to do so since 1976.

Roughly the size of a small car, it will aim to operate for a year on the south pole, where scientists at NASA and other space agencies in recent years have detected traces of frozen water in the craters.

The presence of water has implications for major space powers, potentially allowing longer human sojourns on the moon that would enable the mining of lunar resources.

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First Published Date: 20 Aug, 07:24 IST