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Crater Formed by the Impact of the Luna-25 Spacecraft

  • Автор: Basilevsky A.T., Ivanov B.A., Dolgopolov V.P.
  • Издательство: Solar System Research

  On August 11, 2023, the Luna-25 spacecraft was launched with the task of landing in the southern polar region of the Moon and conducting research on the soil and near-surface exosphere. It flew safely to the Moon vicinity and settled into the orbit of Moon satellite. The landing of the spacecraft was scheduled for August 21. In accordance with the flight program, on August 19, a braking impulse was issued to form a pre-landing orbit. But the braking engine worked longer than planned, and the spacecraft crashed into the lunar surface. The team of the LROC television camera of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, having received information from Roscosmos about the crash site of Luna-25, photographed this site and on August 24 received an image showing a morphologically fresh crater with a diameter of about 10 m, which was not present in previous images of this site. The paper describes the regional topographic and geological characteristics of the site. A photogeological analysis of LROC images of the impact site was performed. An estimate has been made of the expected diameter of the crater formed as a result of the impact of Luna-25. From our examination, it follows that the 10-meter crater described in the NASA message appears to have actually been formed as a result of the impact of Luna-25. Its size corresponds to estimates calculated from impact parameters. The absence of a bright halo of emissions, typical of very young lunar craters, is likely due to the fact that the impact was relatively low-velocity, and in this case the crater is more likely an indentation depression and/or due to the fact that there was about half a ton of unspent fuel in the spacecraft “smeared” the surface near the crater. 

Basilevsky, A.T., Ivanov, B.A. & Dolgopolov, V.P. Crater Formed by the Impact of the Luna-25 Spacecraft. Sol Syst Res 58, 141–147 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1134/S0038094623700090