I’d totally missed that there’s a substantial amount of landing-on-the-moon activity going on at present. Most recently Russia’s attempt to be the first to land a craft, “Luna-25”, on the southern polar region of the moon - despite everything else that one imagines the administration of that country would be focussing on right now.

That region of the moon is unexplored by landers. It’s thought that there might be interesting ice deposits to examine there. It’s the only area of the moon that has craters with interiors that aren’t near-constantly in sunlight.

We do know what the moon’s south pole looks like from above though thanks to several successful orbital missions. Here’s an image from Wikipedia:

Image of the moon's south pole, taken by the Clementine spacecraft

However the Luna-25 landing didn’t go well. As of yesterday it has officially “ceased to exist” as a result of crashing into the moon.

Here’s an artist’s impression of what it would have looked like if it had touched down in 1 piece, taken from the CBS article above.

Artist's impression of Luna-25 on the moon

Unfortunately, given the impact of the craft crashing into the moon’s surface, an artist’s impression is all we can expect from that mission.

India is attempting something similar with its Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, due to land on the moon this week. In the US, NASA is funding a commercial attempt to land on the moon from Intuitive Machines later this year. Another commercial offering, this time from Astrobotic, is expected this or next year. China and Japan are also involved in moon-landing missions expected to take place over the next few years.

Most of these are put-robots-on-moon missions. However NASA’s Artemis program has a moon landing planned for 2025 - Artemis 3 - that is looking to drop a couple of human astronauts near the lunar south pole.