Lunokhod 2

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  • 19 Mar 2010

    Lost and Found Lunokhods

    Point of trivia: Lunokhod means moon walker in Russian. The Lunokhod 2 was a Russian Rover that landed on the moon in 1973, and to this day holds the record for the longest distance of surface travel on the moon. It was intended to survey sites for later manned landings and lunar bases; in June of 1973, the mission was declared completed. Many speculated that this was due to mechanical failure and the Lunokhod was never recovered from the moon. Fast forward to 1993. Richard Garriott (a.k.a. Lord British) purchases “ownership” of the Lunokhod landers for $68,500 from the Lavochkin Association, a Russian aerospace company. Even though the landers were still on the moon. Now this is where it gets cool. Fast forward to this past Wednesday. 2010 - 37 years after the Lunokhod mission, Cambridge author and astronomer Phil Stooke found it neatly tucked in a crater. From CTV/Canada a.m. : “By comparing the newly released images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter with pictures from his own recently published reference book on moon geography, The International Atlas of Lunar Exploration, he was able to find the tracks the old Soviet rover left in the moon dust.” Check out the interview here on CTV… On the moon, "there are no waves or wind on the moon to wash or blow them away, like footprints on a beach. They could be there for millions of years." Kudos to Wired for my favorite caption thus far: "Game developer's lost Russian rover is found." And to the Vancouver Sun for nicknaming Stooke a "lunar sleuth." Intrepid, exotic, outstanding. I may have to find a new career... [Above image: Lunokhod 2. The large white arrow indicates the rover, the smaller white arrows indicate its tracks, and the black arrow indicates the crater where it picked up its fatal load of lunar dust.]

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