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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

50 Year Anniversary- Luna 3 Pics released

Luna 3 probe

On October 26, 1959, the Soviet Union released a series of pictures taken by the Lunik 3 (Luna 3) probe. The significance of these pictures is that they were the first to show the far side of the moon, previously unseen by man. Launched on October 4, the picture sequence of 29 frames was taken on the 6th and 7th. Once the probe left the moon, on a return towards the Earth, the Russian scientists attempted to transmit the pictures on the 8th but encountered difficulties. Only about 17 poor pictures were able to be transmitted by the 18th of October. These pictures were publicly released on the 26th.

The Undiscovered Country... the Far Side...

Communications with the probe were ended on the 22nd. It is estimated that the probe made several orbital passes of the Earth, but never really achieved a stable orbit and probably burned up in Earth's atmosphere sometime between 1960-1962.

Soviet Commemorative Stamp

One thing I love about the Russians is that they loved their space achievements. The Russians loved to commemorate everything with stamps, and this was a great one.

Mark Daymont,
Space Center Educator
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