Soviet Moon Rover Found After Four Decades

Conspirator
User avatar
Posts: 2946
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:23 pm
Location: The beach

PostFri Apr 30, 2010 4:17 pm » by Torofamily


Soviet Moon Rover Found After Four Decades
April 29th, 2010
By Lewis Page
Via: Register:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/04/27/lunokhod_1_found/

Probe-sat locates vanished pinnacle of 1970s USSR tech

A long-lost Soviet solar/nuclear robot buggy – mislaid in the early 1970s – has been found on the moon by a NASA survey satellite.

The vehicle in question is the Lunokhod 1 rover, which landed in the Mare Imbrium aboard the Luna 17 lander in 1970. During the fortnight-long lunar days the machine was able to prowl about on electric drive, topping up its batteries using the fliptop solar panel mounted above its tub-like main body. During the long, chilly nights the lid would shut and the systems inside the tub were kept alive by a Polonium-210 radioisotope powered heater.

Lunokhod 1 stayed in touch with Soviet ground controllers for no less than 11 months, prowling the moon even as the US astronauts of Apollo 14 and 15 were driving about elsewhere in their manned moon buggies. However the robot crawler eventually ceased communications, and the project was officially terminated on October 4, 1971.



A team of boffins in California, whose research involves measuring the Moon’s orbit with extreme precision in order to test Einstein’s theory of general relativity, have long made use of other lunar reflectors left by the Apollo programme.

“We yearned to find Lunokhod-1,” says Professor Tom Murphy, head of the moon-gazer team. “It would provide the best leverage for understanding the liquid lunar core, and for producing an accurate estimate of the position of the center of the moon—which is of paramount importance in mapping out the orbit and putting Einstein’s gravity to a test,” he adds.

Salvation came last month, when NASA released a tranche of detailed orbital photos of the Mare Imbrium, taken by its new Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) satellite as it made repeated passes just 30 miles above the surface. With these, it was possible to finally get a decent idea where the lost Lunokhod and its parent lander were.

“The recent images and laser altimetry from LRO provided coordinates within 100 meters, and then we were in business,” says Murphy.

Image


Using the 3.5m telescope at Apache Point in New Mexico, Murphy and his colleagues were able at last to get a laser reflection back from the missing moon-prowler, getting its range to within a centimetre. A second reading less than 30 minutes later gave another line of position and pinned the machine down to within 10 metres. In time, Murphy believes he can refine this down to within a centimetre.

“We got about 2,000 photons from Lunokhod 1 on our first try,” exults Murphy. “It’s got a lot to say after almost 40 years of silence.”
ImageWE ARE THE GLOBAL POLITICAL AWAKENING ! Image

  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post
Visit Disclose.tv on Facebook