Russian lunar lander: doomed to fail?
Russia’s Luna-25 space probe crashed on Saturday while attempting to land on the south side of the moon. In the first Russian lunar mission since 1976, the spacecraft was supposed to explore landing possibilities and water deposits — with the long-term goal of establishing a manned lunar base by 2040. While the causes of the crash remain unclear, commentators see plenty of reasons.
A foreseeable humiliation
La Stampa comments mockingly:
“Russia had been trying to revive its programme since 2005. ... After 18 years, 6 billion roubles and the exit of international partners from the project, Russia has not even managed to repeat what it was able to do when Putin was still studying at the KGB’s officer training school. A humiliation that could become international if the Indian lunar exploration mission Chandrayaan-3 succeeds in landing at the Moon’s south pole the day after tomorrow. That Russia has now dropped out of the great space race after a series of accidents, cancellations and disasters is hardly surprising. The reason for the decline lies not so much in technological backwardness as in the political system that produced it.”
The result of repression and corruption
It’s no wonder nothing came of the mission, economist Konstantin Sonin comments on his Facebook page:
“Can you kick scientists out of their jobs and out of the country, up universities and research centres, intimidate students and prospective students, wage war on international science and cooperation — and then hope for anything more than luck? ... In the past ten years Roscosmos has become a code word for corruption and theft of public funds. ... Putin’s people only put money into the space project to make it easier to steal. ... The real miracle would have been a successful Luna 25 mission.”