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Luna 17 USSR Moon Rover Mission Launch (1970)
November 10, 2015
Luna 17 was an uncrewed space mission of the Soviet Union (USSR) which launched November 10, 1970, and landed a rover, Lunokhod 1, on the lunar surfaced November 17, 1970 in the Sea of Rains (Mare Imbrium). Lunokhod was intended to operate through three lunar days but actually operated for eleven lunar days (eleven earth months). The operations of Lunokhod officially ceased on October 4, 1971, the anniversary of Sputnik 1, after having travelled over 10.5 kilometers while taking pictures and performing numerous tests.
In March 2010, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photographed the landing site of Luna 17, showing the lander and tracks of the rover. In April 2010, the Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser-ranging Operation team announced that with the aid of these photos, they had found the long-lost Lunokhod 1 rover and had received returns from the laser retroreflector.