Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

January 13, 1996
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Lunokhod 1: Moon Robot
Credit: Soviet Lunar Program

Explanation: On November 17, 1970 the Soviet Luna 17 spacecraft landed the first roving remote-controlled robot on the Moon. Known as Lunokhod 1, it weighed just under 2,000 pounds and was designed to operate for 90 days while guided by a 5-person team on planet Earth at the Deep Space Center near Moscow, USSR. Lunokhod 1 actually toured the lunar Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains) for 11 months in one of the greatest successes of the Soviet lunar exploration program. The futuristic looking eight wheeler is pictured here in an artist's conception atop its landing module. Ramps extend from both sides of the spacecraft allowing the rover to choose an alternative route to the surface if one side is blocked by boulders.

Tomorrow's picture: A Distant Cluster of Galaxies

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (GMU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
NASA Technical Rep.: Sherri Calvo. Specific rights apply.
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