This Day in History: Luna 21 Moon Probe & Rover Launched (January 8th, 1973)

An unmanned moon probe, complete with a rover, was launched by the Soviet Union on this date in 1973.

Luna 21 was launched into space onboard a Proton rocket on January 8th, 1973. The probe also included a remote-controlled rover, Lunokhod 2.

The rover would land on the moon a week after launch. The rover, equipped with several television cameras and an array of instruments would travel across the lunar surface and return tens of thousands of photographs, as well as scientific data.

The rover's mission came to an end in early June. A third Lunokhod rover was built, but never launched. Three more Luna probes would be launched, however, as the program concluded with Luna 24.


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