The chief of the Russian space agencyRoscosmos on Monday advocated for Russia to stay in the lunar race, a day afterannouncing its mission had crashed.
"In no case should the lunar program be interrupted, that would be theworst decision," Yuri Borisov said in an interview on television.
The Luna-25 mission was meant to mark Moscow's return to independent Moon exploration in the face of financial troubles and corruption scandals andgrowing isolation from the West.
But on Sunday, Roscosmos announced the probe had crashed during pre-landing manoeuvres.
"Interrupting the lunar program for almost 50 years is the main reason forthe failure" of Luna-25, Borisov said.
"The invaluable experience that our predecessors accumulated in the 1960sand 1970s was practically lost" during the interruption of the programme, headded.
Borisov explained the crash was due to an issue with the spacecraft'scorrection engine.
The engine supposed to put the spacecraft into pre-landing orbit "workedfor 127 instead of the planned 84 seconds. This was the main cause of theprobe's crash," Borisov explained.
A special commission has begun looking into the exact causes of theincident, Borisov also said.
Moscow last landed a probe -- Luna-24 -- on the Moon in 1976, beforeshifting away from lunar exploration in favour of missions to Venus andbuilding the Mir space station.