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18.04.2013

Lunokhod-1 is found

The Soviet device "Lunokhod-1" was brought to the surface of the Earth satellite by automatic interplanetary station "Luna-17" in 1970. The last time he got in touch with the Earth on the radio was in 1971. "Lunokhod-1" was equipped with a reflector. With their help scientists detect the exact distance from the Earth to the Moon (a laser beam traveling at the speed of light is sent to the reflector, and the researchers detect how long it took to go from our planet to the satellite and back). After communication with the Lunokhod was lost, the researchers could not "catch" the reflector, as they did not know the exact location of the device. In mid-March 2010 American orbital sonde Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) transmitted the photos to the Earth, with "Lunokhod-1".

 

Using them, scientists were able to calculate accurately the coordinates of location of Lunokhod and send to this area a laser beam. According to the researchers, they hit the device on the second try. Scientists sent to the moon laser pulses using 3.5-meter telescope. This telescope was used to receive the reflected signal as well. The value of the reflected signal is about 2000 photons per pulse, which is sufficient enough for signal reception. It should be noted that the reflected signal from Lunokhod-2 was got long time ago, and it is used to measure the distance to the moon. Lunokhod-1 can also be used for this purpose now, for the first time in 40 years, ever since it was lost.

 

Source: Laser-portal


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