NASA’s spacecraft detects a possible lunar crater caused by the crash of the Russian Luna 25 spacecraft

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A new crater has appeared on the moon, and it was likely formed when Russia’s unmanned Luna 25 mission collided with the lunar surface.

Images taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and published by the agency on Thursday reveal the new crater.

The Luna 25 spacecraft, Russia’s first lunar lander in 47 years, launched on August 10 and was expected to land near the moon’s south pole two weeks later.

But communication with the spacecraft broke down, and Russian space agency Roscosmos reported an “emergency” as Luna 25 attempted to enter lunar orbit before landing on August 19.

Roscosmos officials later said engine failure was the likely cause of the accident.

The agency shared an estimate of the impact point on August 21, allowing members of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter team to send commands to the spacecraft the next day to take images of the site.

The orbiter took pictures over a four-hour period on August 24, revealing the new crater. The images were compared with those taken at the same location before the accident, taken in June 2022.

The new crater is close to the estimated impact point, leading the orbiter team to conclude that it is Luna 25’s likely final resting place, according to NASA launch.

The crater is 32.8 feet (10 meters) wide and 248.5 miles (400 kilometers) from Luna 25’s intended landing target.

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The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been orbiting the moon since 2009, has been used to monitor and capture impact craters from previous missions that have crashed into the lunar surface, including India’s Chandrayaan-2 in 2019.

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