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Soviet Lunar Images
Phil Stooke
post Jun 28 2005, 04:49 PM
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Here's another very interesting and little known topic, so this is a chance to ask or to post about it.

I am looking for information on the Soviet Union's lunar missions. Actually I have lots already, but you can always use a bit more.

Specifically, consider this question: what areas were photographed by the Soviet lunar orbiters, Lunas 12, 19 and 22? First I must say that these were NOT systematic mapping missions, they were tests of experimental imaging systems, and the SU never undertook any systematic mapping of the Moon. So coverage is limited.

I have searched high and low for images from these missions, helped especially by the extremely talented and knowledgeable Don Mitchell. For this post I'm going to stick to Luna 19, coming back to the others later. Between us, Don and I have located five Luna 19 images, often of very poor quality (photocopies of prints from magazines, microfilm of russian newspapers, etc.) I reprojected them into approximate mapping geometry and then searched for their locations on the Moon. Result, the first ever (AFAIK) index map of Luna 19 coverage. When I was in Moscow I asked for this but got nowhere, and I'm not sure they ever did it, or certainly didn't publish it. The area often reported as the focus of Luna 19 images refers in fact only to one orbit.

So, here's the index map;

Attached Image


and if anybody can track down any OTHER Luna 19 images I would be VERY grateful for the information.

Phil


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tedstryk
post Jun 29 2005, 02:42 AM
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What I have is very limited -
http://pages.preferred.com/%7Etedstryk/luna19.html
The best I know of is on Don Mitchell's site, but I'm sure you have already seen it...I will do a dig through my archives to see if I can caugh anything else up.

Edit: I came up empty. I did find some Luna 12 and 22 stuff in my collection. Here is the Luna 12 image I have:


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Phil Stooke
post Jun 29 2005, 12:38 PM
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Thanks, Ted - a nice pair of images (they are joined together here, but I believe they are not actually contiguous on the surface). I had seen these before, but these are very good copies of them.

Luna 12 took images on film, developed them and scanned the negatives, just like Luna 3 and Zond 3 before it. (and the NASA Lunar Orbiters). In fact the first purely electronic imaging system flown in lunar orbit may have been Luna 19, though I admit I am not certain of that.

Luna 12 took about 20 images, of which I have seen four. They cover a narrow strip from just south of Aristarchus (where these images of Ted's are) through crater Eratosthenes into northern Mare Tranquillitatis. All of the eastern half of the strip would be under very high sun, not very good images, and I've never seen any of those.

Phil


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tedstryk
post Jun 30 2005, 04:06 PM
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Well, the Luna landers had fully electronic imaging systems. But I think it is the first Soviet orbiter to have one. Here are two rectified Luna 22 shots.




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Phil Stooke
post Jun 30 2005, 07:34 PM
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Nice images, Ted! Thanks.

Below I have attached the Luna 22 coverage map. This map also has a pair of images above it: one original Luna 22 image and the same image rectified (like Ted's).

Luna 19 and Luna 22 both imaged with a scanner which scanned from horizon to horizon, and then potentially from terminator to terminator. The actual length of the imaging tracks is unknown. For Luna 19, for instance, we have only 5 small fragments... are they all that were made, or just bits of long panoramic images? For Luna 22 (see my map) we have longer images. But the full extent is still not known.

Both of Ted's images fall in areas I have already mapped (alas!). The first crater is Ptolemaeus, the second Gutenberg.

In Moscow, I was shown the negatives from Luna 22, kept in a safe in the Department of Lunar and Planetary Research at Sternberg State Astronomical Institute. But I could not copy them, or learn anything useful about coverage. My material came from a set at Flagstaff. Don Mitchell also found prints of a few images in magazines or books. But if anyone finds a new one let me know! Posterity will thank you.

Phil



Attached Image


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tedstryk
post Jun 30 2005, 09:44 PM
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Great map. I am investigating possible leads for more imagery, and have our ILL sleuths at work on it!


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JTN
post Dec 27 2005, 11:20 PM
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(This seems like a reasonable topic to revive for this question...)

Soviet-themed names were apparently assigned to the apparent features on the lunar farside based on Luna 3 images, as depicted on this CCCP postage stamp. According to the APOD text, the features named include "the Sea of Moscow, the Soviet Mountains, the Bay of Astronauts, and the Sea of Dreams". (I've only checked the last one with a machine translator.) Perhaps other features are named too?
The Sea of Moscow name is still widely used (although the Latin appears different - Mare Moscoviense vs old Mare Moscovrae), but the others appear to be long gone.

I'm curious about these old names. Is there a better map showing their locations? Are there more of them? Did they die out because the features turned out not to be real, through politics, or for some other reason?

(FWIW, here is a Usenet post I made some years ago with similar musings, mainly about Mare Desiderii.)
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Phil Stooke
post Dec 29 2005, 08:31 PM
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Good question, JTN. It is one I have looked at closely during my work on my forthcoming atlas.

The spacecraft we call Luna 1 was not called that when it was launched. It was just called 'The Cosmic Rocket', and nicknamed Mechta - 'dream' - reflecting in a common Russian style the romantic notion that space flight, or flights to the Moon, were an ancient dream of humanity, only now being fulfilled. When the first maps of the far side were drawn up in the Soviet Union, a dark smudge on the limb near the central far side was called 'More Mechta' - the Sea of Mechta, a commemoration of the flight of Luna 1. In the west it was often translated 'Sea of Dreams' - which omits the reference to Luna 1 - but the name is singular, not plural. Sea of Dreams is a mistake, and latin translations of 'Sea of Dreams' only make it worse. The designations Luna 1, 2, 3 and so on were only applied retrospectively after Luna 3.

I'll post an image later.

Phil


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Phil Stooke
post Dec 29 2005, 08:39 PM
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Perhaps " More Mecht' " would be a better transliteration of the name.

Here are two images:

Phil

Attached Image


Attached Image


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Phil Stooke
post Dec 29 2005, 08:44 PM
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The Soviet Mountains turned out to be a ray system. Astronaut Bay (NOTE the term Cosmonaut was not being used in 1959!) is poorly defined and was abandoned. Mechta Sea didn't clearly relate to a true mare and was dropped. But Giordano Bruno, Tsiolkovskii, Jules Verne and Mare Moscoviense continue to be used. V.V. Shevchenko of Sternberg and a colleague have argued that Mechta Sea is the first glimpse of the low albedo floor of South Pole - Aitken basin, and I agree with this interpretation.

Phil


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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Dec 30 2005, 02:25 AM
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Two more footnotes:

(1) The Soviet naming system for its first few years of launches bore no resemblance whatsoever to the names attached to the missions by the US press for convenience. Not only were the first three Lunas not called that at the time, but Venera 1 was also really called one of the "Cosmic Rockets". And "Sputniks 4 through 10", the unmanned Vostok tests and the two orbital stages for the 1961 Veneras (one of which failed to restart), were none of them called Sputnik -- they were given some other awkward names that I've forgotten.

Then, after sensibly calling their next two deep-space probes Mars 1 and Luna 4, the Soviets -- on Khrushchev's insistence -- gave their 1964 Venus probe the noncommittal name of Zond ("Probe") 1, and didn't admit for months that it was even aimed at Venus, so that they had some alibi (very transparent) if it failed, as it did. They even called their 1964 Mars probe Zond 2, despite the fact that they admitted instantly that it was aimed at Mars (and also that it had serious power problems) -- but Khruschchev had been kicked out just the month before, and after that the Brezhnev government at least stopped that nonsensical game of nomenclatural peekaboo.

(2) In Arthur C. Clarke's 1962 story "Maelstrom II", the Soviet Mountains -- in which everyone still believed at that time -- play an important plot role.
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Dec 30 2005, 02:32 AM
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Additional note: that Mechta ("Daydream") name for the first Luna probe was certainly Korelev's idea. He had a taste for inspirational names with no ideological element whatsoever; thus also Sputnik ("Traveling Friend"), and Vostok ("East", which has long been a Russian slang term for "Dawn", as in "dawn of a new era for mankind". I shudder to think what names the Soviets might have given their probes if the Chief Designer had had less of a personal disdain for Communism (thanks to his near-death experience under Stalin).
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nprev
post Dec 30 2005, 09:07 AM
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QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Dec 29 2005, 07:32 PM)
I shudder to think what names the Soviets might have given their probes if the Chief Designer had had less of a personal disdain for Communism (thanks to his near-death experience under Stalin).
*



The mind reels..."Glorious Smolensk Tractor Works Collective Effort 1" might well have been the first succesful Venera! biggrin.gif


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Bob Shaw
post Dec 31 2005, 12:47 AM
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QUOTE (nprev @ Dec 30 2005, 10:07 AM)
The mind reels..."Glorious Smolensk Tractor Works Collective Effort 1" might well have been the first succesful Venera!  biggrin.gif
*


Er... ...'Minuteman'. 'Columbia'. I could go on...

When, centuries from now, the victors (whoever she and her sisters may be) write the history of space colonisation, I hope the nomenclature of our own cultural imperialism stands up as well under their gaze as Korolev's charming and life-affirming names for his glorious efforts!

Bob Shaw


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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Dec 31 2005, 02:54 AM
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Actually, the US hasn't been that bad in that regard -- almost the only examples of nationalistic crowing I can find are the names given by three of the Mercury 7 astronauts to their capsules (Shepard, Grissom and Cooper), and the names of the two Apollo 11 ships -- and I think the latter can be excused; after all, it DID just take note of the fact that We Got There First.

Well, there was Reagan's insistence on naming the Space Station "Freedom", as a way of sticking his thumb in the Kremlin's eye -- and of course after it turned into a collaboration with Russia it got the memorably inspirational new name of "Alpha". (It might have been wiser to name it "Omega", since it seems likely to finish off the US manned space program once and for all.) As for "Minuteman": well, that was a WEAPON, and calling it that was just the equivalent of all those Soviet May Day parades. (One New Yorker cartoon showed the Kremlin recognizing the advent of detente by adding giant cartoon-character balloons to the parade.)
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