Luna-25, the first modern Russian attempt to land a spacecraft on the Moon, ended in failure with spaceship crashed into the lunar surface, Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Sunday. The failure once again highlights the risks involved in sending spacecraft to soft land on the Moon.
Although it has successfully landed more than 20 times, including 6 times with people on board, it is clear that this technology has not been mastered yet. Amazingly, with the exception of three Chinese landings in the past 10 years, all successful Moon landings occurred within a decade from 1966 to 1976.
15 minutes of horror
Ahead of the Chandrayaan-2 mission in 2019, K Sivan, President of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), called the final stage of the landing “15 minutes of horror”. That comment captures the essence of the complexity involved in landing from lunar orbit to the surface of the Moon. Quite clearly, this is the most difficult part of the Moon mission.
Over the past four years, government and private space agencies from four countries – India, Israel, Japan and now Russia – have tried to land their spacecraft on the Moon and have failed. . Each of these missions crashed in the final stages — during the landing process — and crashed to the Moon’s surface.
The exact problem with luna-25 remains unknown, although the statement from Roscosmos states that the change in momentum the spacecraft experienced as it entered orbit before landing was different from what should have happened. In the case of the other three – ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2, Israel’s Beresheet, and Japan’s Hakuto-R – different types of malfunctions resulted in not achieving the desired speed level.
China is the only exception in this case, having landed on its first attempt in 2013 with Chang’e-3. It repeated the feat with Chang’e-4 in 2019 and Chang’e-5, a sample return mission, in 2020.
Of the countries that have tried and failed, India is the only one in the process of making a second attempt. Learning from its previous failure, it incorporated some of the safety features in Chandrayaan-3 and added layers of redundancy so that if a particular feature were to go wrong, another would work.
The landing is earlier
It seems odd that technological ability that was demonstrated on so many occasions before half a century ago continues to haunt some of the most advanced space agencies today. However, landing technology is far from being mastered. That was evident in the very high failure rate during that time.
Of the 42 landings between 1963 and 1976, only 21 succeeded, with a success rate of just 50%. The motivation to go to the Moon at that time was very different. Primarily Cold War rivalry and a desire to gain a geopolitical advantage, prompted the United States and the Soviet Union to first send these Moon missions. They are dangerous, extremely expensive, and energy inefficient. But some of these have also been wildly successful, achieving feats in the realm of science fiction just a few years ago.
As Mylswamy Annadurai, one of the key people behind Chandrayaan-1, said, the kind of risk that comes with sending those Moon missions would be completely unacceptable at this time. Even the costs incurred for those tasks cannot be justified right now.
Aamir Khan showed up at my one-room kitchen in the middle of the night because he wasn’t happy with a scene: Mushtaq Khan
Gadar 2 box office 9th day: Sunny Deol-starrer records the second biggest saturday of all time, towards Rs 400 crore
In addition, the technologies being used for current Moon missions vary widely. They are safer, cheaper and more fuel efficient. But it also means that these are not comparable to those used in the 1960s and 1970s, and are currently only being tested. That’s why even the United States, which has landed up to six crewed missions on the Moon, has almost started all over again – by sending an Orbiter – in the current round of missions. Moon mission. Even with its Artemis program, it didn’t start by sending humans. The Crew Mission will only perform the Artemis-3 mission.
The future of the Luna mission
Luna-25 is just a resumption of Russia’s interest in the Moon. It was named to signify the continuation of the Luna series that the then Soviet Union used to get to the Moon 50 years ago. Luna-24, launched in 1976, was the last spacecraft to land on the Moon’s surface, before missions on the Moon were abruptly halted and suspended for nearly two decades.
Russia has announced that there are more lunar missions to track Luna-25. At least three more installments in the Luna series are planned this decade.