Images taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and released by the agency on Thursday reveal the new crater.
The Luna 25 spacecraft, Russia’s first lunar lander in 47 years, was launched on August 10 and was expected to land near the lunar south pole a couple of weeks later.
But communication with the spacecraft was interrupted and Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, reported that an “emergency situation” had occurred while Luna 25 was attempting to enter a pre-landing lunar orbit on August 19.
Roscosmos officials later stated that the probable cause of the accident was engine failure.
The agency shared an estimate of the point of impact on Aug. 21, allowing Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter team members to send commands to the spacecraft the next day to image the site.
The orbiter took images over a four-hour period on August 24, revealing the new crater. The photos were compared with those taken in the same place some time before the accident, in June 2022.
The new crater is close to the estimated impact point, so the orbiter team has concluded that it is likely the final resting place of Luna 25, according to a NASA statement.
The crater measures 10 meters in diameter and is 400 kilometers from the planned landing target for Luna 25.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling the Moon since 2009, has been used to detect and image impact craters created by previous missions that have crashed into the lunar surface, including the Indian Chandrayaan-2 mission in 2019. .