Emily Lakdawalla • Mar 17, 2010
And now for Luna 17 and Lunokhod 1
I am delighted to report that within a day of the first view of Luna 21 and Lunokhod 2 since the end of that mission in 1973, the sister mission, Luna 17 and Lunokhod 1, has also been found -- and this time by Russian scientists. They discovered the location of the lander and rover in Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter image M114185541RC.
Again, it was Sasha Basilevsky who let me know of this by email. He said that his colleague Albert Abdrakhimov was the one who located the lander and rover, and made various checks (comparing the image to earlier maps and also to the rover's panoramic views of its landing site) that convinced Sasha and others that, indeed, this was Luna 17 and Lunokhod 1.
Here's the orbital view:
Unfortunately, I don't currently have a version of this image without the annotation. I did download the relevant LROC image, all 500 MB of it, but I have so far been unable to find a way to open and process full-resolution LROC images in all their 16-bit glory. I'm working on it!
Here are a couple of zooms onto the lander and rover:
I'm sure I'll have more to post on this in the next day or so!
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