Russia's Luna-25 spacecraft enters lunar orbit

Luna-25 will circle the moon, the earth's only natural satellite, for around 5 days, then change course for a soft landing

August 18, 2023 01:22 pm | Updated 01:22 pm IST

A picture taken from the camera of the lunar landing spacecraft Luna-25 shows the Zeeman crater located on the far side of the moon, August 17, 2023.

A picture taken from the camera of the lunar landing spacecraft Luna-25 shows the Zeeman crater located on the far side of the moon, August 17, 2023. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Russia's lunar spacecraft entered the moon's orbit on Wednesday, a major step towards the country's ambition of being the first to land on the moon's south pole in the search for frozen water.

The Luna-25 entered the moon's orbit at 11:57 a.m. (0857 GMT), Russia's space corporate Roskosmos said.

Luna-25 will circle the moon, the earth's only natural satellite, for around 5 days, then change course for a soft landing on the lunar south pole planned for Aug. 21.

India's Chandrayaan-3 entered the moon's orbit earlier this month ahead of a planned touchdown on the south pole of the moon later this month.

Also Read | Russia launches Luna-25 in a bid to return to the moon 

The Luna-25, which is roughly the size of a small car, 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 on the moon has implications for major space powers, potentially allowing longer human sojourns on the planet that would enable the mining of lunar resources.

No Russian spacecraft has entered lunar orbit since Luna-24, the Soviet Union's 1976 moon mission, according to Anatoly Zak, the creator and publisher of www.RussianSpaceWeb.com which tracks Russian space programmes.

"Entering lunar orbit is absolutely critical for the success of this project," Zak told Reuters. "This is a first for the post-Soviet period."

"Some are calling this the second lunar race so it is very important for Russia to resume this programme. Luna-25 is not just one mission - it is part of a much broader Russian strategy that stretches 10 years into the future."

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.