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Found: 1970s Soviet Moon Rover, Lunokhod 1

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This contraption looks like it'd fall apart trundling over a particularly rough bit of carpeting, but it's actually much more durable than it seems. It's Lunokhod 1 and the Soviets drove it around the moon in 1970.

Lunokhod 1 was abandoned after it ran out of power up there, and the Russian space bosses didn't have a precise record of its coordinates—so it's remained lost for 40 years.


However, astrophysicist Tom Murphy has tracked down the lunar clunker, thanks to NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photographing other Soviet space waste on the moon's surface and giving him a good idea of where to look. Tom targeted a laser pulse in its direction—confirming it's location thanks to the bounced-back photons picked up by the Apache Point Observatory.

Now we have a precise point on the moon to aim at, it opens the doors to all sorts of science involving gravity, planetary wobbles and the moon's course through space. [Spectrum Boing Boing]