Thursday, March 18, 2010
Well, that was quick. Just a few days after releasing this site where individuals can help identify landmarks on the Moon thanks to new imagery from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the old Soviet Lunokhod rover has been rediscovered. The rover made a 35-kilometre trek back in 1967 but after it stopped functioning couldn't be found again.
Now would be a good time to mention just how much easier it is to send and manage a rover on the Moon compared to Mars or any other destination, since the tiny time lag and constantly facing the Earth means it can be set up with a minimum of AI, just enough to receive and carry out commands from the Earth. That's similar to the idea of a 'dummy rover' proposed for the surface of Venus which would also carry a minimum of electronic equipment in order to maximize the amount of time it can spend on the surface, while its movements would be controlled by a probe or solar flyer located above in a much more hospitable zone.