Six cars parked on the moon: the history of moon rovers

Lunokhod 1

The first mechanism on the moon was the Soviet Lunokhod. It was launched in 1970, controlled by radio, from Earth. This dish, resembling a cast-iron bathtub with an antenna and on wheels, was the first man-made object that moved along the moon.

Soon after the moon landing, it became clear that the lunar rover's chambers were too low; because of this, the car was "short-sighted" and was constantly stuck in craters. Eight wheels were saved, on which the lunar rover overcame the climbs above the altitude laid down in the design.

Despite this, Lunokhod honestly worked and reworked its watches. Instead of the planned 90 days, Lunokhod worked for almost a year and traveled 10.5 km. The place where he finally stopped was unknown for a long time; only in 2005, the Lunokhod appeared in photographs taken by the NASA orbiting lunar apparatus.

Apollo 15

The first manned spacecraft on the moon was the lunar rover in 1971, on which astronauts David Scott and Jim Irwin rode. A few minutes after the start of the trip, Scott began to complain about the pitching: the attraction of the moon was too weak to hold the accelerated moon rover, and the car bounced, breaking off the ground with all the wheels at once. Developing maximum speed was then quite safe: firstly, the route was carefully composed taking into account all possible obstacles, and secondly, as one of the passengers noted in the radio transmission to the ground, there was no oncoming traffic.

Apollo 16

The second American lunar rover was delivered to the satellite by the Apollo 16 mission. On it, astronauts covered 27 kilometers - and picked up the Big Mali, the largest sample of lunar soil delivered to Earth. The name 11-kilogram piece of regolith received in honor of the chief geologist of the mission.

The design of the lunar rover corrected one significant drawback, which severely interfered with the Apollo 15 crew: increased the length of the seat belt, which astronauts of the previous mission could not fasten for a long time - spacesuits that were inflated at low pressure prevented it.

Apollo 17

Eugene Cernan, the crew commander of Apollo 17, spent several precious hours of the lunar mission repairing the wing of the lunar rover. Paper lunar maps, electrical tape, and details of the landing module were used. The rover of the seventeenth Apollo developed a record at that time 18 km / h. Its driver, Cernan, on December 14, 1972, was the last man to set foot on the moon; since then, lunar motors dispensed with drivers.

Lunokhod 2

The second Soviet "Lunokhod 2" (1973) flew to the moon for records. Firstly, he was in the most serious weight category of all: the weight of 840 kilograms was a record for delivering cargo to the surface of the moon. Secondly, it went more than its predecessors - 37 or 39 kilometers, and this record was broken only by the Opportunity rover in 2014. His journey ceased due to dust covering the solar panels; there was not enough electricity to continue driving.

And in 1993, he ... was bought at an auction in New York. Entrepreneur Richard Garriott paid $ 68.5 thousand for Lunokhod 2 and became the only owner of property outside the Earth in the world.

Chinese lunokhod Yutu

China became the third country after the USSR and the USA, which managed to land the apparatus on the moon. The wheels of the lunokhod Yuta were raised by moon dust in 2013, 40 years after the previous last vehicle stopped on the moon. He weighed only 140 kilograms and was much less than the American lunar buggies and Soviet heavyweights. He went all for nothing - a little more than 100 meters per month, and got stuck forever.


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