Russia is headed back to the Moon as it tries to reassert itself as a major world power after its war in Ukraine. A rocket carrying the Luna-25 craft will mark Russia’s first lunar mission since 1976. The expedition will attempt to land an exploration vehicle at the moon’s south pole, hoping to dig up water ice beneath the surface. face You can watch the launch here.
The Soyuz 2.1v rocket carrying the lander is scheduled to lift off from the Vostochny spaceport in eastern Russia at 7:10 pm Eastern time. If successful, it would be the first vehicle to make a soft landing on the Moon’s south pole. NASA confirmed in 2020 the discovery of water molecules in the sunlit parts of the Moon’s surface. Salvageable water could mark a breakthrough for lunar exploration, providing future human lunar missions with life support, fuel (through extracted hydrogen) and even potential agriculture.
Russia’s space travel also serves as a salvo in its attempt to reposition itself as a major world power untouched by Western sanctions over its 2022 invasion of Ukraine. The ship’s name is a callback to the Soviet Space Program: Its last mission was Luna-24, which spent 13 days on its way to the Moon and back to collect samples in 1976. Refers to the time when the Soviet Union was a you are undeniably the world’s superpower. fits President Vladimir Putin’s goals of projecting an image of Russian preeminence.
Luna-25 is also in a race against India: the country’s Chandrayaan-3 mission launched on July 14 and entered the Moon’s orbit this week. The Indian spacecraft is scheduled to reach the Moon’s south pole on August 23. Luna-25 will take five days to reach the Moon and is expected to spend five to seven days in orbit before impact. That timeline has the Russian lander potentially reaching the Moon at the same time as India, if not slightly ahead.
The craft is expected to conduct experiments – using 68 lbs of research equipment – on the Moon for about a year. It includes a scoop that can capture samples up to a depth of 15 cm (six inches) in its search for frozen water.
You can watch the launch stream below starting around 7:10 pm EDT.