Russia’s Luna-25 will test lunar sampling skills.
Credit: NPO Lavochkin/IKI/Roscosmos


Russia’s return to the Moon is the country’s Luna-25 mission.

The purpose of the project is to send an automatic probe for research in the region of the south pole of the Moon. It is planned that the landing craft will touch down north of the Boguslavsky crater.

A “reserve area” for the landing craft is southwest of the Manzini crater.

Credit: NPO Lavochkin/IKI/Roscosmos

Repeat delays

At the end of March, Roscosmos reported that tests of the high-precision landing system for the Luna-25 interplanetary automatic station had been successfully completed.

August 22 is now the target date for launch of Luna-25, according to Alexander Mitkin, Deputy General Designer for Electrical Systems at NPO. S. A. Lavochkin – the group that has built and tested the probe.

Russia’s Luna-25 Moon lander.
Credit: RSC Energia/Roscosmos

The Russian robotic Moon lander has repeatedly slipped from last year to May 2022 and now August.

Soil sampling duties

Luna-25 is to study the upper surface layer in the region of the south pole of the Moon, the lunar exosphere and develop landing and soil sampling technologies. The declared active life of the probe on the surface of the Moon is at least one Earth year.

Credit: NPO Lavochkin

This Russian Moon mission continues the series of the former Soviet Union’s lunar exploration activities that ended back in 1976. Luna-24 successfully delivered about 170 grams of lunar soil to Earth.

The Luna-25 mission will be followed by the Luna-26 orbiter and the Luna-27 landing vehicle, after which it is planned to start deploying a full-fledged scientific station on the Moon in collaboration with China.

Topographic map of the southern sub-polar region of the Moon showing the location of Boguslawsky crater.
Credit: Ivanov et al., 2015 via Arizona State University/LROC

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