January 8 – Launch of Luna 21 (1973)

January 8th, 1973 saw the launch of Luna 21 from Baikonur, onboard a Proton 8K82K rocket, to land the Lunokhod 2 rover on the Moon a week later, on January 15th.  The mission was successful, with a landing in the Le Monnier crater, between the Mare Serenitatis and the Taurus mountains.

Lunokhod Rover
Lunokhod Rover.  What do you think: Heath Robinson or Wallace and Grommit?

Lunokhod 2 took some 80,000 photographs, and conducted several soil surveys.  It kept going until May 1973, when dust on its solar panels and radiators caused a terminal heating issue. TAS announced the end of the mission on June 3rd.


 

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