Astronomy Picture of the Day

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

April 20, 1997
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Moon Robot: Lunokhod 1
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 guided by a 5-person team at the Deep Space Center near Moscow, USSR, Planet Earth. 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 an alternative route to the surface if one side is blocked by boulders.

Tomorrow's picture: Big Sky Comet

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.