Lunokhod 1
Overview
 
Lunokhod 1 was the first of two unmanned lunar rover
Rover (space exploration)
A rover is a space exploration vehicle designed to move across the surface of a planet or other astronomical body. Some rovers have been designed to transport members of a human spaceflight crew; others have been partially or fully autonomous robots...

s landed on the Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

 by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 as part of its Lunokhod program. The spacecraft which carried Lunokhod 1 was named Luna 17
Luna 17
-External links:*...

. Lunokhod was the first roving remote-controlled robot
Rover (space exploration)
A rover is a space exploration vehicle designed to move across the surface of a planet or other astronomical body. Some rovers have been designed to transport members of a human spaceflight crew; others have been partially or fully autonomous robots...

 to land on another celestial body
Astronomical object
Astronomical objects or celestial objects are naturally occurring physical entities, associations or structures that current science has demonstrated to exist in the observable universe. The term astronomical object is sometimes used interchangeably with astronomical body...

.
Lunokhod 1 was a lunar vehicle formed of a tub-like compartment with a large convex lid on eight independently powered wheels. Its length was 2.3 metres (7.5 ft). Lunokhod was equipped with a cone-shaped antenna, a highly directional helical antenna
Helical antenna
A helical antenna is an antenna consisting of a conducting wire wound in the form of a helix. In most cases, helical antennas are mounted over a ground plane. The feed line is connected between the bottom of the helix and the ground plane...

, four television cameras, and special extendable devices to test the lunar soil
Lunar soil
Lunar soil is the fine fraction of the regolith found on the surface of the Moon. Its properties can differ significantly from those of terrestrial soil...

 for soil density and mechanical property tests.
Encyclopedia
Lunokhod 1 was the first of two unmanned lunar rover
Rover (space exploration)
A rover is a space exploration vehicle designed to move across the surface of a planet or other astronomical body. Some rovers have been designed to transport members of a human spaceflight crew; others have been partially or fully autonomous robots...

s landed on the Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

 by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 as part of its Lunokhod program. The spacecraft which carried Lunokhod 1 was named Luna 17
Luna 17
-External links:*...

. Lunokhod was the first roving remote-controlled robot
Rover (space exploration)
A rover is a space exploration vehicle designed to move across the surface of a planet or other astronomical body. Some rovers have been designed to transport members of a human spaceflight crew; others have been partially or fully autonomous robots...

 to land on another celestial body
Astronomical object
Astronomical objects or celestial objects are naturally occurring physical entities, associations or structures that current science has demonstrated to exist in the observable universe. The term astronomical object is sometimes used interchangeably with astronomical body...

.

Rover description

Lunokhod 1 was a lunar vehicle formed of a tub-like compartment with a large convex lid on eight independently powered wheels. Its length was 2.3 metres (7.5 ft). Lunokhod was equipped with a cone-shaped antenna, a highly directional helical antenna
Helical antenna
A helical antenna is an antenna consisting of a conducting wire wound in the form of a helix. In most cases, helical antennas are mounted over a ground plane. The feed line is connected between the bottom of the helix and the ground plane...

, four television cameras, and special extendable devices to test the lunar soil
Lunar soil
Lunar soil is the fine fraction of the regolith found on the surface of the Moon. Its properties can differ significantly from those of terrestrial soil...

 for soil density and mechanical property tests. An X-ray spectrometer, an X-ray telescope
X-ray telescope
An X-ray telescope is a telescope that is designed to observe remote objects in the X-ray spectrum. In order to get above the Earth's atmosphere, which is opaque to X-rays, X-ray telescopes must be mounted on high altitude rockets or artificial satellites.-Optical design:X-ray telescopes can use...

, cosmic ray
Cosmic ray
Cosmic rays are energetic charged subatomic particles, originating from outer space. They may produce secondary particles that penetrate the Earth's atmosphere and surface. The term ray is historical as cosmic rays were thought to be electromagnetic radiation...

 detectors, and a laser
Laser
A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of photons. The term "laser" originated as an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation...

 device were also included. The vehicle was powered by batteries which were recharged during the lunar day by a solar cell
Solar cell
A solar cell is a solid state electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect....

 array mounted on the underside of the lid. To be able to work in vacuum a special fluoride based lubricant was used for the mechanical parts and the electric motors (one in each wheel hub) were enclosed in pressurised containers. During the lunar nights, the lid was closed and a polonium-210 radioisotope heater unit
Radioisotope heater unit
Radioisotope heater units are small devices that provide heat through radioactive decay. They are similar to tiny radioisotope thermoelectric generators , and normally provide about one watt of heat each, derived from the decay of a few grams of plutonium 238, although other radioactive isotopes...

 kept the internal components at operating temperature
Operating temperature
An operating temperature is the temperature at which an electrical or mechanical device operates. The device will operate effectively within a specified temperature range which varies based on the device function and application context, and ranges from the minimum operating temperature to the...

. Lunokhod was intended to operate through three lunar days (approximately 3 Earth months) but actually operated for eleven lunar days.

Launch and lunar orbit

Luna 17
Luna 17
-External links:*...

 was launched on November 10, 1970 at 14:44:01 UTC. After reaching earth parking orbit
Parking orbit
A parking orbit is a temporary orbit used during the launch of a satellite or other space probe. A launch vehicle boosts into the parking orbit, then coasts for a while, then fires again to enter the final desired trajectory...

, the final stage of Luna 17's launching rocket fired to place it into a trajectory towards the Moon (1970-11-10 at 14:54 UTC). After two course correction maneuvers (on November 12 and 14), it entered lunar orbit
Lunar orbit
In astronomy, lunar orbit refers to the orbit of an object around the Moon.As used in the space program, this refers not to the orbit of the Moon about the Earth, but to orbits by various manned or unmanned spacecraft around the Moon...

 on November 15, 1970 at 22:00 UTC.

Landing and surface operations

The spacecraft soft-landed
Moon landing
A moon landing is the arrival of a spacecraft on the surface of the Moon. This includes both manned and unmanned missions. The first human-made object to reach the surface of the Moon was the Soviet Union's Luna 2 mission on 13 September 1959. The United States's Apollo 11 was the first manned...

 on the Moon in the Sea of Rains on November 17 at 03:47 UTC. The lander had dual ramps from which the payload, Lunokhod 1, could descend to the lunar surface. At 06:28 UT the rover moved onto the moon's surface.

The rover would run during the lunar day, stopping occasionally to recharge its batteries via the solar panels. At night the rover hibernated until the next sunrise, heated by the radioactive source.

1970:
  • November 17 - November 22: The rover drives 197 m, returns 14 close up pictures of the Moon and 12 panoramic views, during 10 communication sessions. It also conducts analyses of the lunar soil.
  • December 9 - December 22: 1,522 m

1971:
  • January 8 - January 20: 1,936 m
  • February 8 - February 19: 1,573 m
  • March 9 - March 20: 2,004 m
  • April 8 - April 20: 1,029 m
  • May 7 - May 20: 197 m
  • June 5 - June 18: 1,559 m
  • July 4 - July 17: 220 m
  • August 3 - August 16: 215 m
  • August 31 - September 14: 88 m

End of mission and results

Controllers finished the last communications session with Lunokhod 1 at 13:05 UT on September 14, 1971. Attempts to re-establish contact were finally discontinued and the operations of Lunokhod 1 officially ceased on October 4, 1971, the anniversary of Sputnik 1
Sputnik 1
Sputnik 1 ) was the first artificial satellite to be put into Earth's orbit. It was launched into an elliptical low Earth orbit by the Soviet Union on 4 October 1957. The unanticipated announcement of Sputnik 1s success precipitated the Sputnik crisis in the United States and ignited the Space...

. During its 322 Earth days of operations, Lunokhod travelled 10,540 metres (6.55 miles) and returned more than 20,000 TV images and 206 high-resolution panoramas. In addition, it performed 25 lunar soil
Lunar soil
Lunar soil is the fine fraction of the regolith found on the surface of the Moon. Its properties can differ significantly from those of terrestrial soil...

 analyses with its RIFMA x-ray fluorescence
X-ray fluorescence
X-ray fluorescence is the emission of characteristic "secondary" X-rays from a material that has been excited by bombarding with high-energy X-rays or gamma rays...

 spectrometer and used its penetrometer
Penetrometer
A penetrometer is a device to test the strength of a material such as soil. There are many types of penetrometer. They are usually round or cone shaped. The penetrometer is dropped on the test subject or pressed against it and the depth of the resulting hole is measured. The measurements determine...

 at 500 different locations.

Current location

The final location of Lunokhod 1 was uncertain until 2010, as lunar laser ranging experiment
Lunar laser ranging experiment
The ongoing Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment measures the distance between the Earth and the Moon using laser ranging. Lasers on Earth are aimed at retroreflectors planted on the moon during the Apollo program, and the time for the reflected light to return is determined...

s had failed to detect a return signal from it since 1971. On March 17, 2010, Albert Abdrakhimov found both the lander and the rover in Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
The Lunar Precursor Robotic Program is a program of robotic spacecraft missions which NASA will use to prepare for future human spaceflight missions to the Moon. Two LPRP missions, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite , were launched in June 2009...

 image M114185541RC. In April 2010, the Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser-ranging Operation
Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser-ranging Operation
The Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser-ranging Operation, or APOLLO, is a project at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico. It is an extension and advancement of previous Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment, which uses retroreflectors on the Moon to track changes in lunar orbital distance and...

 (APOLLO) team from the University of California at San Diego
University of California, San Diego
The University of California, San Diego, commonly known as UCSD or UC San Diego, is a public research university located in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California, United States...

 used the LRO images to locate the orbiter closely enough for laser range (distance) measurements. On April 22, 2010 and days following, the team successfully measured the distance several times. The intersection of the spheres described by the measured distances then pinpoint the current location of Lunokhod 1 to within 1 meter. APOLLO is now using Lunokhod 1's reflector for experiments, as they discovered, to their surprise, that it was returning much more light than other reflectors on the moon. According to a NASA press release, APOLLO researcher Tom Murphy
Tom Murphy (physicist)
Tom Murphy is a Professor of Physics at the University of California, San Diego. He is the project investigator for the Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser-ranging Operation Project...

 said, "We got about 2,000 photons from Lunokhod 1 on our first try. After almost 40 years of silence, this rover still has a lot to say."

By November 2010, the location of the rover had been determined to within about a centimeter. The location near the limb of the moon, combined with the ability to range the rover even when it is in sunlight, promises to be particularly useful for determining aspects of the Earth-Moon system.

See also

  • Luna 17
    Luna 17
    -External links:*...

  • Lunokhod 2
    Lunokhod 2
    Lunokhod 2 was the second of two unmanned lunar rovers landed on the Moon by the Soviet Union as part of the Lunokhod program....

  • Timeline of Russian inventions and technology records
    Timeline of Russian inventions and technology records
    Timeline of Russian inventions and technology records encompasses the key events in the history of technology in Russia, starting from the Early East Slavs and up to the modern Russian Federation....


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK