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Published on Jan 4, 2013
Video Credit: Corona Films with ZED in association with Russian TV Channel War & Peace
The full-scale prototype unit on display in the Space Foundation Visitors Center on loan from the Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center was built by the Russian company that constructed the retired Lunokhods that still rest on the surface of the Moon.
Lunokhod 1 was humankind's first robotic rover to explore the surface of another world. It was carried to the Moon aboard the Luna 17 lunar lander, which was launched in secret by the Soviet Union atop a Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on November 10, 1970. Remotely guided by ground controllers on Earth, the Lunokhod 1 rover - which means Moonwalker in Russian - explored the Mare Imbrium, or Sea of Showers, and traveled seven miles (11 km) during its 11 months of operations.
Lunokhod 2 followed the Soviet Union's first lunar rover by riding aboard the Luna 21 lander, which was launched atop a Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on January 8, 1973.
The second rover landed on the Moon near a crater called LeMonnier and then operated for about four months, traveling 23 miles (37 km). Like its Lunokhod 1 predecessor, it televised pictures of the lunar surface back to Earth and employed a suite of science instruments to observe solar X-rays, measure local magnetic fields and study mechanical properties of the lunar soil.