Lunokhod, the Russian moon exploration vehicle was sent further afield from its mother-craft on Sunday (November 22) as Soviet space scientists beamed directional signals to it across space.
Lunokhod, the Russian moon exploration vehicle was sent further afield from its mother-craft on Sunday (November 22) as Soviet space scientists beamed directional signals to it across space. The craft behaved "impeccably" according to Tass, the official Russian News Agency.
In this official film is shown some of the intensive tests which the lunar vehicle, now widely known as the "Moonbuggy", was subjected to before actually being sent on its long voyage across space to Earth's nearest neighbour.
The "Moonbuggy" is equipped with numerous devices for scientific experiment on the lunar surface, the results of which are beamed back to earth by both radio and television links.
It was on November 10 that the "Luna-17" automatic station was launched on its journey to the moon. It successfully made a "soft" landing in the Mare Ibrium area.
This film, using specially animated sequences, shows how on November 17 the "moonbuggy" left its mothercraft and moved onto the surface of the moon, in its own way an achievement equalling that of United States astronauts who have actually walked on the alien surface.
The craft is powered by solar anergy collected by specially mounted devices set atop the strange, eight-wheeled vehicle. On Sunday (November 22) Russian scientists moved the vehicle 19 yards (18 metres) in a zig-zag course across the moon by remote control and then parked it for the long lunar night.
Ground controllers selected a flat spot by watching the televise on pictures transmitted from the moon on a huge screen at the soviet Space Communications Centre. The flat parking place will facilitate its existence under the rigours of the ling lunar night, which last for 14 earth days.
It is anticipated that when "day" returns to the part of the moon where the Lunokhod vehicle is situated, the craft will resume its experimental programme, which is already hailed as a great technical feat.