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NASA Orbiter Discovers Probable Impact Site of Russia’s Unsuccessful Lunar Lander

by Ryan Lee
10 comments
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

A NASA orbiter circling the moon has identified what is believed to be the impact site of Russia’s failed lunar lander, Luna 25.

Last month, the Luna 25 mission came to an abrupt conclusion as it impacted the moon’s surface, marking a disappointing end to Russia’s first lunar expedition in nearly 50 years. According to data gathered by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the collision appears to have resulted in a crater with a diameter of 33 feet (10 meters).

The newly-formed crater is situated approximately 250 miles (400 kilometers) away from its originally intended landing location at the moon’s south pole and is positioned farther to the north. Previous imaging by NASA’s orbiter during a flyover last year showed no signs of a crater at this specific location.

The site of the new crater is on the inner slope of a much older and substantially larger lunar crater.

Given the crater’s proximity to the estimated crash location of Russia’s Luna 25 lander, NASA released a statement indicating that the crater is “likely attributable to that specific mission rather than being the result of a natural impact.”

Related Coverage

  • Setback in Lunar Mission Impacts Russian Prestige and Indicates Underlying Issues in Moscow’s Space Program
  • Russia’s Luna-25 Spacecraft Meets its Demise by Crashing into the Moon, Aborting its Journey to the Lunar South Pole
  • India Achieves Milestone Lunar Landing Near the Moon’s South Pole, Joining an Exclusive Club of Nations

In a related development, India’s rover has been conducting explorations in the moon’s south polar region, having successfully landed mere days following Russia’s unsuccessful mission. This accomplishment makes India only the fourth nation to successfully execute a lunar landing.


The Health and Science Department at The Big Big News is funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The Associated Press holds sole responsibility for the content of this report.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

What spacecraft identified the probable crash site of Russia’s Luna 25 lunar lander?

The NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter identified the probable impact site of Russia’s failed Luna 25 mission on the moon.

How large is the newly-discovered crater?

The newly-discovered crater has a diameter of 33 feet (approximately 10 meters).

Where is this crater located in relation to the intended landing site?

The crater is located approximately 250 miles (400 kilometers) away from its originally intended landing location at the moon’s south pole. It is positioned farther to the north.

How was the crater discovered?

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, during one of its lunar flyovers, captured images that indicated the presence of the new crater. No evidence of a crater had been found at this location in images taken during previous flyovers last year.

Why does NASA believe this crater is from Russia’s Luna 25 mission and not a natural impact?

Given the crater’s proximity to the estimated crash location of Russia’s Luna 25 lander and the timing of the new crater’s appearance, NASA released a statement indicating that it is likely attributable to the specific mission rather than a natural impact.

What was the purpose of Russia’s Luna 25 mission?

The Luna 25 mission aimed to be Russia’s first moon mission in nearly 50 years, targeting the lunar south pole as its landing site. The mission unfortunately ended in a crash, resulting in the creation of the newly-discovered crater.

How does India’s lunar mission relate to this development?

In a related development, India successfully landed a rover in the moon’s south polar region just a few days after Russia’s unsuccessful mission. India thus became the fourth country to achieve a successful lunar landing.

Who is responsible for the content of the report?

The Associated Press holds sole responsibility for the content of this report. The Health and Science Department at The Big Big News, which reported this development, is funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group.

More about Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

  • NASA’s Official Statement on Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Findings
  • Russia’s Luna 25 Mission Overview
  • Previous Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Missions
  • India’s Lunar Landing Success
  • Overview of Lunar Craters and their Formation
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group

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10 comments

TechnoGeek September 1, 2023 - 4:11 pm

Curious to know the tech details of the orbiter that found the crash site. Must be some high-end equipment to catch a 33-foot crater!

Reply
CosmoLover September 1, 2023 - 5:14 pm

space is so unpredictable. One small mistake and years of hard work can go down the drain. Hope Russia tries again soon.

Reply
HistoryBuff September 1, 2023 - 7:41 pm

Interesting how the space race has evolved. Now it’s not just USA and Russia, India’s in the game too. The moon’s gettin crowded!

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EcoWarrior September 2, 2023 - 1:14 am

Okay, but while we’re sending stuff to the moon, how about we focus more on saving our own planet first?

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GlobalCitizen September 2, 2023 - 2:24 am

India and Russia both targeting the south pole, huh? Must be something valuable there. Time for some lunar geopolitics.

Reply
JohnDoe101 September 2, 2023 - 2:37 am

Wow, so Russia’s back to moon missions huh? Shame it didnt go as planned. those pics from the orbiter must be something.

Reply
MoneyMatters September 2, 2023 - 4:08 am

Wonder how much Russia spent on this failed mission. And who funded it. Would be an interesting follow-up.

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NewsJunkie September 2, 2023 - 6:16 am

Good article but more coverage on India’s success would be appreciated. They did what Russia couldn’t and that’s a big deal.

Reply
SpaceFanatic September 2, 2023 - 11:57 am

Honestly, it’s kinda surprising they messed up the landing after so many years of prep. But hey, space is hard, right?

Reply
SkepticalSally September 2, 2023 - 1:49 pm

hm, how do we know this isnt just some random crater? moon’s full of them anyway.

Reply

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