Moscow: Russian space agency Roscosmos reported on Sunday that the Luna-25 probe, the country’s first Moon mission in nearly 50 years, fell on the Moon as a result of an accident during pre-landing preparations.
Roscosmos reported that communication with Luna-25 was lost around 2:57 PM (1157 PM GMT) on Saturday.
Roscosmos claimed the lander “has ceased to exist following a collision with the Moon’s surface” based on early findings.
“Attempts to locate and contact the craft on August 19 and 20 were unsuccessful.”
The space agency announced that an investigation into the crash’s reasons will begin, although it made no mention of any potential technical issues.
In an effort to continue the heritage of the Luna programme from the Soviet era and signal a return to independent lunar exploration in the face of deepening isolation from the West, Moscow had hoped that Luna-25 would do just that.
The 800-kilogram Luna-25 spacecraft was supposed to perform the first-ever soft landing on the lunar south pole.
Since the Soviet Union’s unfortunate Phobos 2 spacecraft to investigate the moons of Mars failed in 1989 due to an onboard computer glitch, Russia has not made an effort to land on a celestial body.
The project would be “risky,” according to Yuri Borisov, the head of Roscosmos, who told President Vladimir Putin face to face in June that the likelihood that it would be successful was “around 70%.”