Factory floor integration of science instruments on Russia’s Luna-25 moon mission, being readied for an October 2021 sendoff.
Credit: Roscosmos


There is a multi-country Moon rush in progress. Case in point is NASA orchestrating the Artemis program of robotic and human lunar exploration. Then there’s China, preparing this year to hurl a go-getting return sample mission to the Moon, joining still-active Chinese lander/rover machinery on the lunar farside. Other nations, such as Japan and India, including private firms, have cross-hairs on future lunar exploration.

Now, enter a new “old-timer” that’s joining the celestial fray.

Soviet Union’s Luna-3 snapped this first image of the Moon’s farside in 1959, one of a number of the country’s space race firsts in exploring Earth’s celestial neighbor.
Credit: NASA

Russian re-build

Russia is rebuilding a multi-pronged return to the Moon program, one that kick-starts a 21st century round of outreach to Earth’s extraterrestrial neighbor.

But as Russian space scientists script a “this then that” plan to reconnect with the Moon, how best to gauge their chances of revitalizing a lunar look-see agenda?

For more information, go to my new Scientific American story:

Luna-25 Lander Renews Russian Moon Rush

The former front-runner in the lunar space race aims to rekindle its exploration after nearly half a century


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