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A new crater appeared on the moon, and it was created when Russia’s Luna 25 mission crashed into the moon’s surface.
Images taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and released by the agency Thursday reveal the new crater.
The Luna 25 spacecraft, Russia’s first lunar lander in 47 years, was launched on August 10 and was expected to land near the moon’s south pole a few weeks later.
But communication with the spacecraft was lost and Russia’s space agency Roscosmos announced on August 19 that an “emergency” had occurred as Luna 25 attempted to enter lunar orbit ahead of the landing.
Officials at Roscosmos later attributed the crash to engine failure.
The agency shared an estimate of the impact point on Aug. 21, which allowed members of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter team to send commands to the spacecraft the next day to take pictures of the site.
On August 24 the orbiter took images revealing the new crater at four-hour intervals. It was compared with photographs taken at the same site before the accident, taken in June 2022.
The new crater is near the estimated impact point, leading the orbiter team to conclude that it could be Luna 25’s final resting place. NASA publication.
The crater is 32.8 feet (10 meters) across and was 248.5 miles (400 kilometers) short of Luna 25’s intended landing target.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been orbiting the Moon since 2009, is used to detect and take images of impact craters created by previous missions that crashed into the lunar surface, including India’s Chandrayaan-2 in 2019.