11 Aug 2023, 09:56 am
A rocket carrying a lunar landing module was successfully launched on Friday, marking Russia's reentry into lunar exploration after a hiatus of almost half a century.
The mission aims to reach the moon before an Indian spacecraft Chandrayaan-3. Here are the top ten points about Russia's Luna-25.
1. The historic liftoff took place at Russia's Vostochny spaceport located in the Far East, propelling the Luna-25 craft towards its lunar destination. This mission stands as Russia's inaugural moon endeavour since 1976, during the era of the Soviet Union.
2. The Russian lunar lander is set to achieve lunar arrival on August 23rd, coinciding with the timeline of an Indian spacecraft that was initiated on July 14. The Russian vehicle is projected to embark on a roughly 5.5-day journey to reach lunar proximity. Subsequently, it will engage in an orbital phase spanning three to seven days, maintaining an altitude of approximately 100 kilometers, prior to commencing its descent toward the lunar surface.
3. Roscosmos, Russia's space agency, said it wants to show Russia “is a state capable of delivering a payload to the moon," and “ensure Russia's guaranteed access to the moon's surface."
4. ISRO on social media platform, X, congratulated Roscosmos, said, "Congratulations, Roscosmos on the successful launch of Luna-25 💐
5. The Luna-25 launched flawlessly from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's Far East, according to video feed from Roscosmos. The spaceport is a pet project of Russian President Vladimir Putin and is key to his efforts to make Russia a space superpower and move Russian launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, PTI reported.
6. The Luna-25 is to take samples of moon rock and dust. The samples are crucial to understanding the moon's environment ahead of building any base there, “otherwise we could be building things and having to shut them down six months later because everything has effectively been sand-blasted," Bloomer said.
7. The sanctions levied against Russia following its incursion into Ukraine have created obstacles in its ability to acquire Western technology, consequently affecting its space endeavors. Notably, the Luna-25 mission originally included plans for a lunar rover; however, this concept was discarded to enhance the craft's dependability by reducing its weight, according to analysts.
8. “Study of the moon is not the goal," said Vitaly Egorov, a popular Russian space analyst. “The goal is political competition between two superpowers — China and the USA — and a number of other countries which also want to claim the title of space superpower."
9. Scientists are especially intrigued by the lunar south pole due to the potential presence of permanently shaded polar craters, believed to hold valuable reserves of water.
10. The frozen water within these crater formations holds the promise of being converted into breathable air and vital rocket fuel by upcoming space explorers.