Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft suffers ‘abnormal situation’ before moon stop | Space News
Russian spacecraft is scheduled to land on the south pole of the moon on Monday to explore what scientists think may hold frozen water and precious elements.
An “abnormal situation” occurred at Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft as it prepared to transfer to its pre-landing orbit, Russia’s national space agency Roskosmos says.
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 that 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 on Saturday.
Specialists are analysing the situation, it said, without providing further details.
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.
Earlier, Roskosmos said it received the first results from the Luna-25 mission and 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, measuring 190km (118 miles) in diameter and eight kilometres (five miles) in depth.
Roskosmos said data it received so far 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.
Its equipment registered “the event of a micrometeorite impact”.