The ran explained the reason for the delay of the flight to the moon

The decision to postpone the Russian mission “Luna-25” for a further two years maturing in the Commission on space Sciences. Despite the fact that scientific equipment is completely ready to fly in 2019, as had been assumed until recently, not ready to start was the aircraft itself, for which scientists have no answer. Due to regular delays launch of cooperation with us in this project have already begun to refuse European partners, particularly the Swedish Institute of space physics, which is more than quick delivery to the moon of their the device promised China. How much do we lose of their care and don’t get there in the end, our Chinese scientists in the exploration of the moon? All this we spoke with the Deputy project scientist at the IKI Igor MITROFANOV.

The South pole of the moon. The view from the top.

As previously reported, the project “Luna-25” is to deliver in the southern circumpolar region of the spacecraft with scientific equipment (10 units) to study the structure and composition of the surface layer of regolith (lunar soil), as well as the study of space plasmas, and lunar dust and telephoto surroundings. Initially the launch of the station “Luna-25” planned for 2015. Somewhere two years before the intended start of the Swedes and asked to set their device LINA-XSAN on Board along with our equipment. And then because of the sanctions and the necessity of solving problems on import substitution picking station, followed by transfer of the start for 2019… the Swedes waited patiently until, has not yet received offers from the Chinese to run their device on Chinese “Chang’e-4” in 2018.

— Right at the airport: if your flight is delayed all the time and suddenly you offer to go to a friend before, you certainly will choose it, — says Igor Mitrofanov. And then it’s reassuring that our scientific program from the “treason” of the Swedes will not be affected — Swedish LINA-EXAN almost completely duplicated our energy-mass-spectrometer ARIES. This is a Russian device, which is part of the “Luna-25” will measure the composition of lunar ectosphere (more rarefied lunar substance than the atmosphere), consisting of space plasma and neutral particles, and the interaction of solar wind with the lunar surface. Of course, the Swedish appliance could use one of our scientists as to obtain good statistical data duplication is always helpful, but, as they say, no court, no, the Europeans are worried due to the fact that their devices are from a long wait just to failure. Financially they owe us nothing. But the work of our staff who have worked for the Swedish device on Board, and now has to spend refining the design elements and re-issue the documentation, it turns out, does not count — the Swedes honestly was waiting for us a few years, so that this force majeure- at Russia’s expense.

— So when will be launched “Luna-25”?

Technically, it’s scheduled for 2019, but now it becomes clear that in this period the spacecraft can’t make it. Not the fault of the ICA — has the scientific equipment we have produced, it is in the final stages of testing to go… But now I have only in 2021. Not having to send a vehicle on the moon in 2019, we lose a good ballistic conditions for flight and landing in the selected area near the South pole of the moon. These conditions are again only two years later.

— If not obsolete, and our devices by that time? And then, what’s the point for us to go after the Chinese?

— Our devices are made with a large stock of the resource. And polar on the moon, even despite the new forced delay, we still plan to prionitis first. The Chinese “Chang’e-4” goal — a district in the mid-latitude side of the moon. In areas at medium latitudes of the moon, our machines have worked in the 60-ies of the last century, there has also been visited by American astronauts. However, landing on the opposite side of our satellite Chinese will be executed for the first time.

The device is “ARIES”. Photo:

— Why the Chinese are not directed at the pole? They would have the advantage over us.

Because your camera, they started to build a few years ago, when there was no understanding that the polar region of the moon promising for research. We at IKI ran, probably before the others have formulated the problem of sending a spacecraft to research the polar region of the moon. This influenced the data that was received in the beginning of the century, including with our Russian neutron telescope LEND, installed on the American lunar orbital device LRO (LRO). These data showed that in the polar regolith is a lot of volatile compounds of cosmic origin, from water to complex molecules. These connections to the moon brought the comet. Pole on the moon can be compared with a natural refrigerator in the cold traps of the polar regolith hundreds of millions of years accumulated and stored in the layers of frost all space volatiles, ever to fall on our satellite. Scientific instruments “Luna-25” will study the composition of these substances will conduct an evaluation of the mass fraction of frozen water in the regolith. Because its presence will free future lunar pioneers from the necessary delivery of water from the Ground. And she need not only for quenching thirst but also for the production of oxygen, and in more remote prospect — and hydrogen rocket fuel for future interplanetary flights.

Now, when the Chinese probably also understand the benefits of the flight to the pole of the moon, if they have the ability to change the route?

They charted a flight to a lunar pole, but still plan to do the camera for this only to 2023, after the flight, “Chang’e-4”. Automatic station for flying in the middle latitudes and polar regions of the moon construction are very different from each other. For example, at a polar station and solar panels are on the sides, because the Sun on the lunar pole rises very low on the horizon. It’s almost like in our Murmansk, where in the summer the polar day the Sun never sets, but remains very low on the horizon. If the lunar pole you climb the high mountain, the Sun won’t go behind the horizon at all and will continue to provide your equipment with its energy. We do not plan to put our “Luna-25” in such a mountainous area, it would be too risky for the first of a lunar polar station, but in many ways, “Luna-25” is the first development of the polar lander does not have analogues yet.


Because the Moon always facing the Earth on one side, then the lunar day it is considered the period of its revolution around the Earth 28 earth days. Day on the lunar equator lasts 14 days, and the same night. The surface of the moon at the poles the Sun shines on a tangent, so at the tops of polar mountains is constantly illuminated areas, where the Sun never sets, and, conversely, at the bottom of polar craters there is a shaded area, where always reigns polar night.

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