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Russia launches first mission to the Moon in nearly 50 years

Russia has embarked on its first lunar mission in nearly half a century, marking a major step in its space exploration efforts. A lunar lander named Luna-25 was launched from the Vostochny spaceport in the Amur region of Russia. The craft is expected to reach its lunar destination on August 23, coinciding with the arrival of an Indian spacecraft that was launched the previous month.

Luna-25’s journey involves a five-and-a-half-day trip around the Moon before spending about a week orbiting the celestial body. Later, it will land on the south pole of the Moon, with the main objective of collecting samples of rock and dust. This mission aims to provide information about the lunar environment and assess its suitability for establishing a potential base.

The south pole of the moon holds a special intrigue for scientists because of its polar craters that remain in permanent shadow. These craters are believed to contain frozen water, which has the potential to become air and rocket fuel, thus playing a crucial role in future space exploration efforts.

This effort marks Russia’s return to lunar exploration since 1976, during its time as part of the Soviet Union (USSR). Along with the United States and China, the USSR is among the select few to achieve successful moon landings. Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, sees this mission as an opportunity to bolster its status as a “space superpower.” The country’s determination to assert its capabilities in space has been intensified by geopolitical factors, including strained relations with the West.

Amid sanctions and geopolitical tensions affecting its access to Western technology, Russia wants to demonstrate its ability to deliver payloads to the Moon and ensure guaranteed access to the lunar surface. Although its space program faces challenges, including being part of the International Space Station initiative, Russia is working on its own orbital outpost, reflecting its continued commitment to space exploration.

This article is sourced from and written by AI.

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