It is 45th Anniversary of the Station Luna-21 and Lunokhod- 2 (Rover) mission to the moon launched by Soviet Union landing on January 15, 1973. Russian Space Systems released declassified documentation of the mission in the commemoration of the mission anniversary. A Soviet trailblazer was launched on September 13, 1959 to the Moon. However the original Lunokhod-1 was launched in 1970 and was able to compete 10 km (6.2 miles) walk exploration.

The space launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, space port located in the former Soviet Union Republic of Kazakhstan occurred On January 8th, 1973, on the carrier of Proton K to deliver Lunokhod -2 (moon rover) to the location. The landing taken place after 8 days on the Zemlia-Sputnik. The successful mission was able to last 4 months and set the world record of the rover traveling on the moon for 39 km.(24.2 miles) during 5 moon day durations taking close to 69000 images.

The mission ran in sets up to the final set of 503.

The observations during the mission as followed:

  • Equipment used PK-EC and Earth Complex successfully achieved the set out mission parameters pertaining to the orbital flight control

  • Delivery to the Moon

  • Precise location of landing

  • Automated station movement of the Lunokhod-2 (moon rover) and its telemetric control

  • Maps of the moon used in with laser optical tools and televised to the control.

  • Sharing of the scientific data ( set 306 for the first time in the world history allowed information sharing by utilization of the laser optical channel using FA0I1 equipment and in turn returning the information using radio channel Moon-Earth using system CI95E, moreover during interaction 600 letter characters were successfully received on Earth)

  • Inflight testing

  • Radio Command (Set 308 was used as an experiment to research the failure of the radio command, prompting complete change of command length from 0.1 seconds to 0.2 seconds)

  • Deciphering better camera angles, two cameras in question

  • Overheating of the outward attached equipment outside of the set norms and parameters

    Overall Soviets were able to obtain close to  80000 images. Final set of the mission 503, Lunokhod-2 encountered hollow Moon crater and tumbled to the crater hole. Interestingly enough it was able to return the surface but during the effort debris entered inside the equipment causing overheating to 47 degrees C, causing to abort the mission.

    Furthermore, a follow on analysis was made during a long term regime t=+50C in reverse regime causing overheating, block responsible for the function overheats. All other equipment did not show same trend. Recommendations were made to not use the reverse function over 30 degrees Celcius and only at 10 minutes increments, and no further modifications to the autonomous system.

    However, Soviet record was broken during 2015 by United States NASA Opportunity Mars Rover, traveling close to 40.25 km (25.01 miles).

    On another note, a new mission by NASA’ Mars Exploration program slated in 2020, consequently robotic exploration of the Red planet and will cover scientific goals to seek out potential life on the planet not withstanding microbial life traces.

    China has further interest in the exploring Earth- Moon for industrialization. China has one of the ambitious future plans.

    Russia Future missions ExoMars Rover this year possibly.

    Luna Globe Orbiter up to 27 in near future

    Luna Globe Orbiter up to 27 in near future

    Luna Grunt sample return 2021

    Bommerang Phobos sample return-2022

    Venera-D lander(s) and orbiter(s)-2024

    Mars sample return-2024

    Ganymede lander-late 2020s

    In Conclusion the future looks like the space territory will be a race between Russia, US and China, it will be exciting future opportunities and technological advancements compounded with exploration adding artificial intelligence injection in space.

    Christina Kitova Twitter @CarticlusMedia Source: NASA, Russian Space Systems