Luna 2 Aniversary!

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andrew_t1000

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September 12, 1959, Lunar 2 impacted the lunar surface.
The beginning of the space race was an exciting time.
Will we ever get that sort of thrilling string of missions again?
We can but hope.
 
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3488

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Yes most certainly, Luna 2 the frst physical contact with the Moon by a man made craft, Luna 3 the frst to see the Lunar Farside, Luna 9 the first to return imagery of the lunar landscape in Oceanus Procellerum.

I thinks what is heppening now is pretty exciting, two rovers on Mars, craft on route to Mercury, giant asteroids 1 Ceres & 4 Vesta, KBO Pluto / Charon, Cassini at Saturn, Phoenix in the arctic on Mars last year, LRO around the Moon, LCROSS to impact the Moon, MRO, MO & Mars Express around Mars, Venus Express at Venus, anticipated returns to Mars, Jupiter & Saturn, we.ve had the Vikings, Mars Pathfinder, Voyagers, Galileo, Deep Space 1 , Stadust, Kaguya / Selene, I do not think it's been too bad or unexciting really, & right now we have a very good planetary exploration program in operation.

Of course we always would like more, but then what is happening right now is pretty good.

Andrew Brown.
 
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JonClarke

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It's hard to imagine today what a break though this little probe was back in 1959. In addition to being the first spacecraft to reach the surface of another body, Luna 2 confirimed Luna 1's dsicovery of the solar wind, created an artifical sodium sodoum cloud, determined that the Moon lacked a magnetic field and radiation belts, measured the micrometeroite flux of the journey to the Moon, and allowed the accurate measurement of the lunar gravitational field through doppler tracking. A tremendous achievement by all involved.
 
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CalliArcale

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An interesting historical tidbit:

September 11, 1900 was the birthdate of Semyon Lavochkin, who went on to lead the design bureau that ultimately ended up bearing his name. Though doing a lot of cutting-edge work, a variety of happenstance led to it being pretty unproductive in terms of actual production work. They had great designs for jet fighters before the USSR was interested in funding that, and then for an excellent intercontinental cruise missile -- which was made obsolete before it ever flew by the introduction of ICBMs. But in the mid-50s, it got a new mission. It was assigned to develop robotic spacecraft to explore the Moon and other worlds. In 1959, this bore fruit. On September 12, the day after Lavochkin's 59th birthday, Luna 2 successfully blasted off. It impacted the Moon a few days later, completed its mission successfully.

Lavochkin died the next year, and did not live to see his bureau rise from relative obscurity to one of the most successful aspects of the Soviet space program. Every Soviet and Russian planetary spacecraft since has been built by them, including Phobos-Grunt, set to launch later this year.
 
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JonClarke

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Actually Lavochkin did not work on spacecraft until some years after Luna 2. Their first probe was Luna 9. Earlier probes were by OKB-1. And Lavochkin weren't exactly unproductive, even though they were one of the smaller design bureaus. They Lavochkin lighters of WWII and immediately after were very impressive, built in large numbers, and very successful.
 
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