Russia has reported that its Luna-25 spacecraft has crashed into the moon.
The unmanned robot lander, which launched earlier this month, crashed after it spun into uncontrolled orbit, Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos reported on Sunday.
It comes after the country reported an “abnormal situation” that its specialists were analysing on Saturday.
The mission was the country’s first to the lunar surface in almost 50 years.
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Russia had hoped that the robot would spend a year collecting samples of rock and dust after landing on the moon’s south pole, which was due to happen on Monday.
However, the space corporation said it had lost contact with the craft after it ran into unspecified trouble while preparing for the pre-landing orbit.
“The apparatus moved into an unpredictable orbit and ceased to exist as a result of a collision with the surface of the moon,” Roscosmos said in a statement on Sunday.
The robot – which is the size of a small car – blasted off on a Soyuz rocket and entered the moon’s orbit on Wednesday.
It has since sent back photos of the third-deepest crater on the lunar’s southern hemisphere, the Zeeman crater.
The lunar south pole is of particular interest to scientists, who believe the permanently shadowed craters contain water.
The frozen water in the rocks could be transformed into air and rocket fuel, potentially allowing for longer human trips.
No country has ever actually ventured into the region before.
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Russia was racing against India to make the ambitious landing, with its rival having launched its own lunar lander Chandrayaan-3 last month.
Roscosmos has been keen to prove itself as a “space superpower” since the invasion of Ukraine saw its experts lose access to Western technology.