NASA’s LRO: Shedding New Light on Old Mysteries

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter keeps finding interesting things on the moon. Last week, LRO’s camera photographed the landing sites of Luna 23 and 24, two Soviet probes that landed in the 1970s. The images have enabled scientists to solve mysteries about these missions, specifically what happened to Luna 23 and why the samples returned by Luna 24 were drastically different than anticipated. It seems these nearly 40-year-old missions are still unfolding. Read the full article on Motherboard. (Left, the Soviet Luna 16 spacecraft. One of many in the long-lasting program.)


  • Graham says:


    I noticed in your Motherboard article the line “Luna 9 and 13 have yet to be imaged by NASA’s LRO. It’s yet to be seen if it was actually pesky Moon aliens that wrecked their mission…”

    Luna 9 & 13 were sucessful landers, Luna 9 was the cause of an international incident when Jodrell Bank intercepted the signals carrying the first lunar surface photographs and had them published in a local paper, before the Russians had even had a look at them.

    • asteitel says:

      Graham – My editor actually added in the line about Moon aliens. Thanks for bringing up Luna 9’s story; that’s definitely one to look into more. The history of the early Soviet exploration of the Moon is fascinating and peppered with great stories!

  • […] 00:00:00 – The LRO, everyone’s favorite lunar orbiter, has taken some photos of Space Race era Soviet landers which has finally answered pressing questions such as: did the lander fall over? and, why was this rock so weird? […]

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