Feeds

Game developer's lost electric buggy FOUND ON MOON

Vintage 1973 vehicle discovered by NASA orbiter

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Auctioned, purchased by a space tourist ... now found at last

In June last year, that recommendation was followed when the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) blasted off from Cape Canaveral. Its year-long mission, sweeping along in orbit just 30 miles above the airless lunar surface, will see it scan the entire Moon in unprecedented detail as the Earth's satellite rotates under the orbiter's polar circuit.

NASA released a fresh batch of LRO imagery this week, and Ontario based moon-map boffin Phil Stooke was on it like a rat up a drainpipe looking for the lost Lunokhod. He soon sniffed out the machine's 37-year-old signature.

“The tracks were visible at once,” says Stooke. “Knowing the history of the mission, it’s possible to trace the rover’s activities in fine detail. We can see where it measured the magnetic field, driving back and forth over the same route to improve the data. And we can also see where it drove into a small crater, and accidentally covered its heat radiator with soil as it struggled to get out again. That ultimately caused it to overheat and stop working. And the rover itself shows up as a dark spot right where it stopped.”

Lunokhod-2 is no longer Russian property, having been sold off at auction by Sotheby's in the hard times (for the former Soviet nations) of the early 1990s. The defunct rover was purchased by multimillionaire games developer Richard Garriott (sometimes aka "Lord British") of Ultima fame.

Garriott, the son of a NASA astronaut who served aboard the "Skylab" space station in Earth orbit just months after Lunokhod-2's radiator blew, has continued to pursue his enthusiasm for space in latter years, visiting today's International Space Station as a paying tourist in 2008.

Following this week's LRO imagery, Garriott will now know with some accuracy where his expensive, broken, radioactive Soviet moon-car actually is - even if he remains no closer to being actually able to take possession. Inaccurate Russian charts, according to Stooke, can now be corrected.

There's more on the new LRO imagery from NASA here, and on the Lunokhod find courtesy of the University of Western Ontario here. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
Another step forward for diamond-based quantum computers
Square cut or pear-shaped, these qubits don't lose their shape
LOHAN acquires aircraft arboreal avoidance algorithm acronyms
Is that an ARMADILLO in your PANTS or are you just pleased to see me?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.