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I love the look of that Lunokhod rover.

It reminds me of Russian author Victor Pelevin's wonderful satirical mini-novel "Omon Ra". The Soviet moon missions carried a heavy secret...

There's a free English translation of Omon Ra available online:


I don't know about the quality of this translation, but I'd absolutely recommend the book to anyone who's interested in post-Soviet Russia... And can stomach Pelevin's sprawling irony, which may be the only appropriate literary tool for approaching contemporary Russia :)

The Lunokhod rovers have an unusual and unique appearance because they used pressure vessels to contain the electronics.

Holy pressure vessel batman! I did not know that and find it weird and fascinating.

Am I the only one who thinks it looks like a high-tech baby stroller?

I really liked the look of it as well, but the thing that got me thinking is how similar the wheels/suspension were to the NASA Opportunity and Spirit rovers.

Thinking what?

A bit rough but still a fair question.

Obviously, the first thing I was thinking about was the similarity of the two wheel/suspensions designs. Next up, I was wondering about the engineering decisions which resulted in the designs being similar. The main question I have is, "What advantages did the multi-wheel designs have?" I think it must have something to do with trade-offs between mobility on the (theoretical) terrain and power consumption, but really, I'm just guessing. Whatever the reasons are for the similarities, learning the engineering and testing behind the two designs would be fascinating.

If I remember correctly, in this documentary "Tank on the Moon"[1], they said, one of the scientists who worked on the Lunokhod missions consulted with NASA for part of the design of the Mars rover around 1995. Apparently he worked on the wheel design, to help overcome grip and other factors on the Mars terrain. [1] http://science.discovery.com/tv/tank/tank.html

The US rovers have used a rocker-bogie[1] system for their suspension. While the wheels look similar, the suspension on the Lunokhod almost looks like leaf springs.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocker-bogie

nah. Here's a detail of Lunokhod 3 wheels: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/Lunokhod_...

Given the time of these designs, one cannot rule out that it is more correct to say that there were 1.5 designs, not 2. Both parties involved tended to keep a close look on the competition.

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