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Russia’s Luna-25 Crashes: India to Win the Race to Moon’s South Pole

Russia and India have been in the middle of a lunar space race, with the objective being who can reach the Moon’s South Pole first. The South Pole has been an essential region of the moon to explore ever since 2018 when evidence of water on its surface first came to light. The South Pole may also contain elements that make the region a possible opportunity for mining.

India had launched the same mission in 2019 but failed, and Russia’s last lunar mission was in 1976 (Luna-24). Russia has not had a focus on space exploration for quite some time, as funding for military needs were prioritized after the 1970s.

India’s Prime Minister Modi has been pushing this mission as a way to not only boost his candidacy in his election campaign but also to boost global confidence in the Indian space program. Potentially gaining future collaborations with other powers (most likely the U.S.) for projects like missions and commercial satellites.

Russia pursued its Luna-25 mission as a statement to the world. Given that Russia has sanctions and tech bans placed on it by the West, acquiring resources for a successful launch would be a feat for the country. Without help from the rest of the world, if Russia could complete this mission, it would instill global confidence in its space program. The mission ultimately failed on August 19, resulting in Russia’s probe attempting to land on the Moon’s South Pole and crashing.

Russia and China had recently agreed to develop a project to establish settlements on the moon in the future. Given the state of the Russian space program, the deal between the two countries may be strained as China’s space program is significantly more developed when compared to Russia’s.

India successfully landed their probe on August 23. This marks a new era in Indian history, as the country will likely look to see if other nations would like to partner with them for future endeavors. As India deals with a contentious relationship with China (as China and India have had a persisting border dispute since 2020), this mission is a sign of a fruitful relationship between the U.S. and India. This marks the first instance of India usurping Russia as a world power.


Andrew Rouse
Andrew Rouse

Very informative article

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