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A few interesting videos about the lunokhod rovers: Tank on the Moon The Lunokhod Rovers - It Happened in Space #7 Secret Soviet Lunar Rovers and Extra Terrestrial Cars - Lunokhod, Mars Rovers The chief designer of the lunokhods (Lunokhod 1 & 2) was Aleksandr Kemurdzhian, a tank designer. Being a tank designer his initial designs had the lunokhod use ...


33

That's many questions. Lunokhod 2 lasted for nearly 4 months and held the record for longest distance traversed by an off-Earth robot for over 41 years, until MER-B (Opportunity) beat that in mid 2014, so I wouldn't really say that lunar rovers don't last. It eventually scooped up some regolith dust with its open lid that was also its solar panel, and as it ...


19

The Lunokhods were controlled in real-time from Earth (long article well worth reading), exactly as you say. A camera relayed images to Earth (one image every 7-20 seconds) and a five-man team (driver, commander, navigator, radio antenna operator, and the flight engineer) would control the rover. You can imagine this was difficult: the driver has to ...


18

The Moon has some very serious challenges for rovers. The most serious of these is the fact that the Moon has a 29-day rotation. That means that any spacecraft that will last longer than 14 days must survive a 14-day long night! The temperature swings are incredible in that dark period, from 123 degrees Celsius to -233 degrees Celsius, compared to Mars, ...


14

A team called APOLLO (Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser-ranging Operation), led by Tom Murphy, professor at UC San Diego uses the lunar retroreflectors. Murphy said his team had occasionally looked for the Lunokhod 1 reflector over the last two years, but faced tall odds against finding it until recently. ... "It turns out we were searching ...


12

Each of the Apollo missions delivered two semi-autonomous, crewed, human-powered roving vehicles with sample-return capability to the moon -- astronauts in suits. The later Apollos also added a wheeled "bus stage" to dramatically extend the range of those rovers. This is only half tongue-in-cheek: the function of the expeditions was broadly similar, and ...


7

That is a good question, and this might be better off as a comment but I will answer anyway. There are obviously many reasons why space agencies choose one mission over another. Missions need to fall in line with the overall objectives of the agency, support science that the overall community is investigating, and get the highest value out of every dollar. ...


6

With the difficulties of driving Lunokhod 1, Lunokhod 2 had improvements: the camera used for driving was mounted higher, to give a better field of view and the camera frame rate was 3 seconds compared to 20 seconds for Lunokhod 1. Lunokhod 2 carried an additional TV camera, mounted higher to make driving easier for terrestrial controllers. ...


5

The Lunokhod crew lived and worked according to the schedule that was determined by the visibility of the Moon from the Crimea. One of the drivers, V. Dovgan, wrote a detailed memoir about how it was. According to the memoirs of V. Dovgan, they played volleyball after work. After the first intense communication with the lunar rover, they took a bus and went ...


4

This is really an add-on to above, but joined just to mention it and accordingly don't have enough rep to make a comment; I think its important to point out that the low resolution of the Lunokhod B/W cameras (I believe <100 lines, but cant find a reference) combined with large delay between frames meant the first rover had to be brought to a stop for ...


2

The opinion of Russian scientists about the "discovery" of Lunokhods were published in 2010. Soviet scientists never "lost" "Lunokhod-2" - Academician Marov https://ria.ru/20100317/214985144.html Canadian astronomer incorrectly determined the position of the "Lunokhod" https://ria.ru/20100319/215301851.html Bazilevsky,...


2

The landing site of Lunokhod-1 was well known, but it is a rover. It continued to operate for a considerable amount of time after landing, and like much data from Soviet Russia, data is difficult to come across. Hobbes has already mentioned how the attempt to find it went. The uncertainty estimates were about 5 km, making it very difficult to find with a 10m ...


1

Mars has enough of an atmosphere to 'weather' its surface. The moon doesn't. This means that the individual grains of moon dust are much sharper and more abrasive. The lack of an atmosphere also makes the day/night temperature swings more extreme. Both of these contribute to wear and failure of rovers.


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