“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Nearly 50 years ago, humans first landed on the Moon. The USA wanted to win the space travel race, and it did. Even though Russia became the first country to send humans to space, Americans were the first people to walk on extra-terrestrial land.
Since the day that Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, space tech has come a long way. At that time, all he could do was walk on the moon. But now, we have vehicles than have driven on the moon. And not just the moon, Mars too!
WHAT ARE THE VEHICLES THAT HAVE BEEN USED FOR SPACE TRAVEL?
It was the first wheeled vehicle to land on the moon. Designed by Alexander Kemurdzhian, Lunokhod had 8 customed designed wheels. These wheels were designed to be able to withstand the conditions of outer space. Each wheel was attached to its own motor and brake.
The Lunar Roving Vehicle was the USA’s machine that travelled the moon. This vehicle had the capacity to travel upto 90 km in a single charge. It was built by General Motors, which is why it resembles a conventional car.
The Pathfinder is considered to be one of the most successful data collection space missions till date. It landed on Mars in 1997. The rover attached to the Pathfinder, the Sojourner, was the first rover to operate outside the Earth–Moon system. Moreover, it was one of the first extra-terrestrial vehicles without a rechargeable battery.
Spirit and Opportunity
Spirit and Opportunity were two Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) that landed on the red planet in 2004. They started their journeys from the opposite sides of the planet, and began to study Martian geology. While Spirit got stuck and could not function after some time, Opportunity collected data for 14 years, and finally ended its journey in 2018.
This rover landed on Mars in 2011 and it still continues to travel the surface of the planet. The Curiosity rover is the largest rover to have landed on the planet.