The Russian space agency launched its first moon landing spacecraft in 47 years on Friday. In an attempt to be the first nation to land softly on the lunar south pole, a region believed to possess valuable pockets of water ice. A Soyuz 2.1 rocket carrying the Luna-25 spacecraft lifted off from Russia’s Far East cosmodrome at 2:11 a.m. Friday Moscow time and was propelled out of Earth’s orbit an hour later. This article discusses the Russia’s Luna 25 landing date and other pertinent information. Continue reading!
The scientific instruments were turned on as the spacecraft hurtled towards the moon, which is 384,400 km (238,855 miles) from our planet, and the first data on the flight was measured, according to Russia’s space agency. “The first measurement data from the flight to the Moon has been obtained, and the project’s scientific team has begun processing it,” Roscosmos stated.
Russia launched its last Moon mission in 1976. Luna-25 is the first Russian mission to the lunar surface in five decades. It is competing with India, which launched its Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander last month, as well as the US and China, both of which have advanced lunar exploration programs aimed at the lunar south pole.
Russia’s Luna 25 Landing Date
The launch from Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome, 3,450 miles (5,550 km) east of Moscow, is launched approximately four weeks after India launched its Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander, which is scheduled to land at the pole on August 23.
Russia’s Luna 25 moon mission has piqued India’s interest as well. This is because the Russian lander is expected to land near the lunar South Pole a few days before India, denying India the distinction of being the first country to soft-land near the South Pole.
On August 10, the Russian mission was launched. It is expected to enter lunar orbit on August 16 and attempt a soft landing on August 21 or 22. India’s lunar mission cannot touch down before August 23, as the landing site will experience lunar dawn.
According to Reuters, the Russian space agency Roscosmos’ Luna-25 spacecraft would take five days to reach the moon. And then spend five to seven days in lunar orbit before landing on one of three possible landing sites near the south pole.
Luna-25 aims to be the first spacecraft to land on the Moon’s South Pole. India’s Chandrayaan-3, which launched into space on July 14, aims to be the first spacecraft to land on the Lunar South Pole, with a landing scheduled for August 23-24. The timeline pits the two missions against each other in a race to achieve the historic first.
About Russia’s Luna 25
Over the course of a year, Luna 25, also known as the Luna-Glob-Lander, will investigate the composition of the lunar polar soil. As well as the plasma and dust found in the moon’s scant atmosphere. According to Roscosmos, the rocket carries the Luna-25 probe, which will “analyze the soil, study the upper layer of regolith, and the lunar exosphere.”
The spacecraft, which is roughly the size of a small car, will aim to operate for a year on the moon’s south pole. Where NASA and other space agencies have recently detected traces of water ice in the region’s shadowed craters.
According to NASA, the four-legged lander is equipped with landing rockets, propellant tanks, solar panels, computers, and a robotic arm equipped with a scoop to collect lunar samples, as well as a suite of instruments to study the samples and exosphere. The lander will carry a 30 kg (66 lb) payload made up of eight Russian science instruments:
- ADRON-LR, active neutron and gamma-ray analysis of regolith
- ARIES-L, measurement of plasma in the exosphere
- LASMA-LR, laser mass-spectrometer
- LIS-TV-RPM, infrared spectrometry of minerals, and imaging
- PmL, measurement of dust and micro-meteorites
- THERMO-L, measurement of the thermal properties of regolith
- STS-L, panoramic and local imaging
- Laser retroreflector, Moon libration, and ranging experiments
“If Luna-25 successfully lands, it will be operational for at least a year.” Its primary landing site is north of Boguslawsky crater, at about 70 degrees south latitude. Experiments planned include scooping up soil and analyzing its composition. “The lander could dig up some water ice beneath the surface,” according to the New York Times.
Why did Russia beat India to the moon, despite launching its spacecraft after India’s Chandrayaan 3?
Although Luna-25 was launched earlier this week on board a Soyuz rocket, nearly a month after Chandrayaan-3 on July 14, it will complete the 3.84-lakh-kilometer journey in days. Because of its lighter payload and more fuel storage, the Russian mission was able to take a more direct path to the moon. The lift-off mass of Luna 25 is only 1,750 kg, compared to Chandrayaan-3’s 3,900 kg. The Lander-Rover alone on Chandrayaan weighs 1,752 kg, with the propulsion module weighing an additional 2,148 kg.
Another reason Luna-25 can land a few days before India is that lunar dawn will occur earlier at its landing site. One lunar day equals fourteen Earth days. Because the payloads are powered by solar panels, landing at the start of a lunar day ensures that the experiments get the full 14 days on Earth.
The Moon’s South Pole is known to have ice. That is why all agencies are focusing on that unexplored region of the Moon. The Moon’s human mission, Artemis-III, which would take humans to the Moon for the first time in five decades in the coming years, would also land on the South Pole. That is why the findings of Chandrayaan-3 and Luna-25 in the Lunar South Pole will be closely examined around the world. Let’s hope for the best. Thanks for reading!