Moscow, Aug 20 (EFE).- The Russian probe Luna-25, whose mission was to be the first spacecraft to land at the South Pole of the Moon, has crashed against the lunar surface, according to Russian space agency Roscosmos.
“The apparatus moved into an unpredictable orbit and ceased to exist as a result of a collision with the surface of the Moon,” the agency said in a statement.
According to the results of the preliminary analysis, the accident was caused due to a deviation from the actual impulse parameters that was previously calculated.
Roscosmos acknowledged it had lost contact with the spacecraft on Saturday at 2.57pm local time (11.57 GMT) and unsuccessfully attempted to resume communications in the following hours.
The agency, which on Saturday reported on “an emergency situation” when the engines propelled the Luna-25 into orbit prior to the moon landing, said it would create a special commission to clarify the causes of the accident.
This leaves India’s Chandrayaan-3 Moon mission without competition as it will become the first country to land on the South Pole in the coming days if it successfully completes the next part of its mission.
The Russian probe was due to land on the surface of the Moon on Aug. 21, that is, two days before the Indian probe, which was launched on July 14.
Luna-25, which took off on Aug.11 from the Vostochny cosmodrome, entered into orbit on Wednesday, after over five days of travel.
Since the takeoff, Roscosmos had reported the spacecraft’s systems were functioning normally and even sent images of the lunar surface to Earth and detected the impact of a micrometeorite, among other phenomena.
The Luna-25 mission came nearly five decades after the Soviet Luna-24 – the third spacecraft to collect samples of the lunar surface in August 1976 – and expected to find water in the form of ice on the Earth’s satellite.
A Soviet spacecraft, Luna-2, was already the first to land on this satellite in 1959, a feat that the US emulated years later with its Ranger program. EFE