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Luna 25: Russia's mission to explore the moon's south pole

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Luna 25, Russian mission joins Lunar space race

The Moon is the only celestial body visited by humans, but it still holds many secrets and mysteries.

One of them is the existence of frozen water at its south pole, an area of difficult access and extreme conditions.

To try to unravel this enigma, Russia launched Luna 25, a robotic probe that aims to be the first to land in that region and study its geology, chemistry and environment.

What is Luna-25?

Luna-25 is a spacecraft of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, which is part of the Luna-Glob program, a lunar exploration project that includes other future missions such as Luna-26, Luna-27 and Luna-28. Luna-25 es el primer módulo de aterrizaje lunar ruso desde 1976, cuando el Luna-24 logró traer una muestra de rocas lunares.

How was it launched and when will it arrive?

Luna-25 lifted off on August 10, 2023 at 23:10 UTC from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Siberia aboard a Soyuz-2.1b rocket with a Fregat upper stage..

After five days of flight to the Moon, it will enter a circular lunar orbit at an altitude of about 100 km, where it will remain for five to seven days to choose the best moment for the descent maneuver.

It is expected to land between August 21 and 24, 2023 in Boguslavsky Crater, near the lunar south pole..

Why is this mission important?

The lunar south pole is an area of great scientific and strategic interest, as it is believed to harbor water ice deposits in the permanently shaded areas of some craters.

This water could be a vital resource for future manned missions or lunar bases, as well as a source of information on the history and evolution of the solar system.

In addition, the south pole offers a unique perspective for observing deep space, as it is far from terrestrial interference.

Luna-25 will be the first mission to attempt to land in this region, which poses a major technical challenge due to low temperatures, lack of sunlight and uneven terrain. 

If successful, it will pave the way for other missions that seek to explore and exploit the potential of the lunar south pole, such as India's Chandrayaan-3, la estadounidense VIPER o la propia rusa Luna-27.

Luna-25 is also a sign of the renaissance of the Russian space program, which wants to regain the prominence it had during the Soviet era and compete with emerging powers such as China and India. 

With this mission, Russia demonstrates its technological capability and scientific ambition, as well as its willingness to cooperate with other countries on joint space projects.

Luna-25 is, in short, a historic mission that could mark a milestone in lunar exploration and open new frontiers for knowledge and human development.