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Russia's Lunokhod 1 robotic moon bounces back laser beams after 40 year nap

Paul Miller, @futurepaul
June 3, 2010
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Back before dubstup and chillwave there was a decade called "the nineteen seventies" which capped off a delicious space race between the US and Russia. Also, other things happened. While America was busy shipping humans up to the moon, Russia managed to get two robots up there, the Lunokhod 1 (pictured, in a photo apparently taken in 1904) and Lunokhod 2. They were lost a few years later, but have recently been rediscovered by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the Lunokhod 1 has been put back in use for one of its original purposes: laser ranging. A team from UC San Diego managed to get a lock on the bot and bounced 2,000 photons off the rover's laser retroreflector on their first try. They'll be using Lunokhod 1 and some Apollo-planted retroreflectors to test Earth-Moon distance at millimeter precision to test Einstein's theory of gravity.

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