Soviet Lunar Exploration Space Foundation — Volkswagen Apollo

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Volkswagen Apollo

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After the Soviet Union the race to put a human on the Moon, it concentrated on robotic missions to the lunar surface and survey for manned landings and lunar Two rare artifacts in our Launch to the exhibit — both on from the Kansas Cosmosphere Center — tell a that few in the United States ever heard.

Luna 16 Probe

The Luna 16 Robotic was the first unmanned spacecraft to on the Moon, robotically scoop up a amount of lunar soil and launch the sample back space to return to Earth. The mission by the Soviet Union place months after the 11 and Apollo 12 missions that had returned lunar samples to

When the unmanned Luna 16 Probe set down in the Sea of Fertility in 1970, it was the first time a had landed on the Moon during the two-week lunar night. an hour of landing, a drill the probe collected a sample of soil. Then, mission in Kazakhstan verified the collection and the order to fire the ascent of Luna 16. Three days the soil sample was returned to the marking the first time a from another world had retrieved purely by machine.

Scientists were fascinated to of slight differences in the chemical of lunar soil returned by 16 compared to the Apollo material. The powdery basalt material left)  was found to be similar to that obtained another mare site by 12, but differed slightly from 11’s samples in the levels of and zirconium oxide.

The Luna 16 consisted of two attached stages, an stage mounted on top of a descent

The descent stage was a cylindrical with four protruding legs, fuel tanks, radar and a dual descent complex and was equipped with a camera, radiation and temperature telecommunications equipment and an extendable arm a drilling rig.

The ascent was a smaller cylinder with a top that carried a cylindrical sealed soil sample inside a re-entry capsule. The Luna 16 Robotic Probe was 10 ft. m) tall and, with its extended, 11 ft. (3.3 m) in diameter. It 4,145 lbs. (1,880 The model on display in the El Pomar Gallery is half-scale and was constructed in the Union.

Two additional missions by the — Luna 20 in 1972 and 24 in 1976 — also samples from the Moon.


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Lunokhod Rover

The Lunokhod rover — one of only a few to be displayed outside of the former Union — was part of the program, a bold series that sent nine remote-controlled robot spacecraft lunar orbit and to the surface of the Lunokhod means Moonwalker in

Two of the spacecraft that successfully on the Moon — Luna 17 and 21 — carried Lunokhod which, remote-controlled from explored the lunar surface and back large amounts of information and photographs.

Secretly by the Soviet Union atop a rocket from the Baikonur in Kazakhstan on November 10, 1970, 1 was carried aboard the Luna 17 lander to the Sea of Rains where it the lunar surface for 11 months. 1 traveled seven miles (11 km) and the Mare Imbrium, or Sea of Showers.

2 followed the Soviet Union’s lunar rover by riding the Luna 21 lander, which was atop a Proton rocket the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 8, 1973. The second rover on the Moon near a crater LeMonier in the Sea of Serenity and then for about four months, 26 miles (42 km). Like its 1 predecessor, it televised pictures of the surface back to Earth and a suite of science instruments to solar X-rays, measure magnetic fields and study properties of the lunar soil.

The Lunokhod is formed of a tub-like with a large convex lid on independently powered wheels. the size of a Volkswagen Beetle 4 ft. high (1.35 m) by 7 ft. long m), with a wheelbase of 5 ft. (1.6 m) it was equipped with antennas, cameras, extendable devices to the lunar soil for density and mechanical property tests, an spectrometer, an X-ray telescope, a ray detector and a laser device. The which weighed 1,852 (840 kg), was powered by that could be recharged the lunar day by a solar cell mounted on the underside of the lid. the lunar nights, the lid could be so that an internal heat could keep the internal at operating temperature. It could 0.5 to 1.2 mph (.8 to 1.93 kph). Lunokhod 1 and 2 remotely guided by teams of engineers  (pictured, above

The full-scale prototype unit on at the Space Foundation was built by the company that constructed the Lunokhods that still on the surface of the Moon.

Both remain on the surface of the Moon and are targeted by distance-measuring lasers are beamed from Earth to off devices attached to each While the location of Lunokhod 2 was for years, the resting place of 1 was only recently identified in when images from cameras on NASA’s Lunar Orbiter pinpointed the exact Such distance measurements scientists track the Moon’s drift away from and better understand what’s inside the Moon’s core.  right, Lunokhod 1 on the Moon inset of the actual rover.

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