NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft has captured images of a new crater on the surface of the Moon caused by the impact of the Russian mission ‘Luna 25.’
During its descent, the Russian spacecraft experienced an anomaly that caused it to impact the lunar surface on August 19th.
Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, published an estimate of the impact point on August 21st. According to NASA, the LROC (LRO Camera) team and the LRO Mission Operations team designed and sent commands to the LRO spacecraft on August 22nd to capture images of the site.
The sequence began on August 24th at 18:15 UTC and was completed approximately four hours later, at 22:12 UTC. The LROC team compared images taken before the time of impact with the sequence taken afterward and found a small new crater.
The most recent image of the area taken by LRO was captured in June 2022; therefore, the crater formed sometime after that date. Since this new crater is near the estimated impact point of Luna 25, the LRO team concludes that it likely originated from that mission rather than a natural impactor.
The new crater is approximately 10 meters in diameter and is located at 57.865 degrees south latitude and 61.360 degrees east longitude at an altitude of around -360 meters. The impact point occurred on the steep inner rim (greater than 20 degrees) of the Pontécoulant G crater, about 400 kilometers from the planned landing point of Luna 25 at 69.545 degrees south, 43.544 degrees east.