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Luna 17-02
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Luna 17-02

November 19, 2009
Luna-17 landed on the Moon on November 15, 1970. The robotic rover, Lunokhod-1 rolled off the landing platform to explore the surface of the Moon for about a month. Two cycloramic cameras on either side of the rover were oriented for 180° horizontal panoramas (500 × 3000 pixels). These panoramas are sometimes geometrically warped to correct for the 15° tilt of the camera.

Two other cameras were oriented for 360° vertical panoramas of 500 × 6000 pixels, including images of the sky for star locations. A level indicator was placed below these cameras, with a bull's eye pattern and a small metal ball bearing. This level indicator can be seen as the "dixie cup" in the horizontal pans.

Over 200 panoramas were returned. Two cameras transmitted simultaneously, on 130 and 190 KHz subcarriers. Analysis of these images was carried out by the Sternberg Astronomical Institute (SAI), the Vernadskii Geophysical Institute (GEOKhI), and the Space Research Institute (IKI). The cameras were built by Arnold Selivanov's team at RNIIKP.

As with many Soviet space images, generation loss prevents us from seeing the original quality. Most Lunokhod images are derived from scanning printed images or second-generation film copies. Each stage of photography, printing and scanning introduces noise, nonlinear brighness mapping, and (worst of all) clamping to white or black. The images below only hint at the appearance of the original video signal.


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