(Reuters) – Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said an “abnormal situation” occurred on the Russian Luna-25 spacecraft on Saturday as it was preparing to move into orbit before landing.
A Russian spacecraft is set to touch down on the moon’s south pole on Monday, part of an all-out race to explore a part of the moon that scientists believe may contain frozen water and valuable elements.
“During the operation, an abnormal situation occurred on board the automatic station, which did not allow the maneuver to be performed within the established parameters,” Roscosmos said in a short statement.
She added that specialists are analyzing the situation, without providing further details.
Earlier, Roskosmos said that it had received the first results from the Luna-25 mission and that it was being analyzed.
The agency also published images of the Zeeman crater on the moon taken from the spacecraft. She added that the crater is the third deepest in the southern hemisphere of the moon, with a diameter of 190 km and a depth of eight km.
Roscosmos said the data it has received so far has provided information about the chemical elements in the lunar soil and will also facilitate the operation of instruments designed to study the nearby lunar surface.
It added that its equipment recorded “a micrometeor impact event”.
Luna-25 entered lunar orbit on Wednesday, the first Russian spacecraft to do so since 1976.
Roughly the size of a small car, it will aim for a year’s work in the Antarctic, where in recent years scientists at NASA and other space agencies have discovered traces of frozen water in craters.
The presence of water has implications for major space powers, which could allow for a longer human stay on the Moon and which would enable the extraction of lunar resources.
Written by Gareth Jones. Editing by Jane Merriman
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