The lunar south pole region on the far side of the moon, captured by Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft before its failed attempt to land.
Centre for Operation of Space Ground-Based Infrastructure-Roscosmos State Space Corporation via AP
NASA discovered a huge new crater on the moon with a diameter of 33 feet.
The crater was likely caused by Russia’s Luna-25 lander crashing into the moon last month, NASA said.
Had Luna-25 not crashed, it would’ve been the first craft to explore the lunar south pole region.
NASA discovered a new crater on the moon — and it could be the crash site of Russia’s Luna-25 moon lander.
“During its descent” on August 19, “Luna 25 experienced an anomaly that caused it to impact the surface of the Moon,” NASA said in a statement Thursday.
Luna-25 was supposed to touch down on the moon last month, but the probe lost communications during its descent and crashed.
It was Russia’s first mission to the moon in nearly 50 years. Had Luna-25 successfully landed, it would have been the first spacecraft in history to land on and explore the lunar south pole region.
Instead, India beat Russia to the punch and became the first country to successfully land a spacecraft on the lunar south pole region in late August with its dog-sized moon rover, Pragyaan. The country had previously tried to land a craft near the lunar south pole, but it failed the first time.
Pragyaan’s findings could be critical for learning how to mine moon water — a goal every moon-minded nation is eyeing.
And though India’s 57-pound rover may be small, it “definitely puts them on the international stage as an emerging space power,” Robert Braun, head of space exploration at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, previously told Insider.