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Unmanned > Earth & Moon > Lunar Exploration
Hi everyone,

In a spark of free time I decided to prepare few scenes including soviet union's Lunokhod-1 lunar rover. The rover was modelled and rendered using Cinema 4D, the lunar terrain created thanks to Terragen, then everything put together in Photoshop.

Here go some previews and links to FULLHD versions. Hopefully you enjoy it smile.gif

Ofc feel free to download it and use as your new desktop wallpaper wink.gif

Maciej, Poland

FULL HD ver:

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Tom Dahl
Nice 3D modeling on the spacecraft!
Phil Stooke
Very nice!

I wonder if anyone can help me with a question about Lunokhod 1. In the book Soviet Robots in the Solar System: Mission Technologies and Discoveries by Wesley T. Huntress, JR. and Mikhail Ya Marov, this is stated:

"On [Lunokhod's] tenth lunar day it was spotted from orbit by the Apollo 15 astronauts"

(presumably they would have seen a sun glint off the rover or lander)

But in the Apollo 15 Flight Journal ( there is no mention of the fact. The crew did photograph the area, but there is no suggestion they saw anything. Maybe only the landing site was spotted?

Can anyone provide any other information?

The Apollo 15 Flight Journal includes a photo of the Luna 16 landing site. Luna 16 was a sample return mission that flew/landed two months before Lunokhod 1.

I notice that Lunokhod 1 (AKA Luna 17) landed considerably poleward (38N) of Apollo 15 (26N), whereas Luna 16 landed nearer the equator (1S). If Apollo 15's Command Module would have been in an orbit inclined sufficiently to pass over 38N, then the photos ought to show other objects located at latitudes ≥38 N/S. I also notice that Apollo 15 took pictures of Aristarchus crater, which would seem to preclude an orbit that also overflies the Luna 17 site… Maybe there's something more complicated that I'm not taking into account on that: The Apollo 15 mission was pretty long, so maybe the Moon rotated considerably between the known Aristarchus overflight and the [alleged] Luna 17 overflight. Or, perhaps the report that you read confused Luna 16 and Luna 17?
Phil Stooke
It was not really an overflight, but they did see the Luna 17 site obliquely. In fact, before LRO, the Apollo 15 image of the site was the best in existence (Hasselblad frame AS15-93-12714). The report sounds like they saw a glint off it (the only way it could possibly have been seen), but I suspect the story in the book is false, possibly a misunderstanding based on the seeing the location of the rover.


I have mentioned Apollo 15 spotting the glint off Lunokhod 1 also in my old "Lunar Exploration" book. I will see if I can dig out the source
I was thinking about the psychophysics of this: A loose analogy is seeing (from the Earth, looking up at the sky) a satellite flare during the daytime. A piece of Soviet hardware on the surface of the Moon (there were two items: the rover and the landing stage) could play the role of the satellite, and the surface of the Moon could play the role of the sky. Though most people don't notice them, satellites can be seen easily in such situations, having a magnitude of -7 in some cases. In one way, the lunar overflight case is more difficult: The Moon's surface is by and large brighter than a terrestrial daytime sky.

The other key factor is the reflectivity of Lunakhod: It had a big (presumably reflective) solar panel. Here, the fact that Lunakhod was north of the Apollo landing site is helpful: The panel must have faced the Sun, so getting into the path of the glint would involve being sunward of Lunakhod, and Apollo should have been roughly on that path.

What I question perhaps most of all is that the Apollo astronauts would have been looking in the right place at the right time. This would have lasted just a few seconds and been in only one particular place. I suppose it's possible, but it seems a priori to be an unlikely thing to happen unless they were determined to make such an observation.
QUOTE (Paolo @ Jun 2 2016, 07:30 AM) *
I will see if I can dig out the source

ok. I can't find it. by exclusion, I would say that it's mentioned in Brian Harvey's 1988 book "Race into space - the soviet space programme". I have no idea of what is his source
Phil Stooke

The big resource we have today that was far less accessible in past years is the Apollo surface and flight journal websites with their complete and annotated transcripts on communications. Notably this page:

which describes that day in orbit near the end of the Apollo 15 orbital operations (earlier, Lunokhod was in shadow). The site refers to taking pictures of the area - as I said, for many years they were the best pictures available. But there is no crew comment along the lines you would expect - "wow, that was quite a flash from out there -is that where the Lunokhod is?"

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence... except, here it pretty much is. If anything was seen at that time somebody would have said something. I think the whole story may be a mistranslation or a misunderstanding derived from them seeing (photographing) the location, but never actually seeing anything of the landed hardware. But I will check the post-flight debriefings as well.

QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Jun 3 2016, 12:13 AM) *
But I will check the post-flight debriefings as well.

I was thinking about the debriefings too. I know Harvey personally, I may also ask him about his source
Phil Stooke
I made some big blunders with Lunokhod 2 in my old moon book, so now I am updating it I am determined to do everything just right.

OK - this is supposed to be a Lunokhod 1 thread, but I didn't want to make a new thread just for this.

So... I have completely remapped the route in a style like my Mars rover maps (labelling still in progress), and I just made this, which I am inordinately proud of. I have wanted to do it for years. The Lunokhod cameras did not lend themselves to horizon mapping because of the limited coverage of the horizon in each image and the limited number of actual panoramas. I think the only possible place where a full Lunokhod 2 panorama might be possible is at the landing site, where there are a lot of images. The rover was moving but not enough to mess up the distant horizon. However, it does mean the foreground is compromised so it is cropped out here. By judiciously combining all available horizon fragments I have produced this:

Click to view attachment

The big massif at lower right is Far Cape and Near Cape together. The long range of hills running north from there and around the top (north) of the circle is the rim of Le Monnier crater, which is visible all the way to its northwestern terminus. A hill due south is the 'Tangled Hills' or 'Oncoming Hills' of Russian maps (PS there's a great new paper in press in Icarus by Irina Karachevtseva and colleagues on Lunokhod 2). Contrary to my previous thoughts on the topic, the hill Le Monnier Alpha is not visible, and two small hills to the southwest are probably on the ridge between the rover and Le Monnier Alpha.

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