Author Topic: "Tank on the Moon"  (Read 12481 times)

Offline grakenverb

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"Tank on the Moon"
« on: 02/09/2008 12:06 PM »
Program to be aired on the Science Channel on Tuesday 2/12 called "Tank on the Moon", about the Soviet Lunokhod Rover.  Not sure if it has been aired before, but it looks like it might be interesting.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #1 on: 02/09/2008 02:34 PM »
http://science.discovery.com/tv/tank/tank.html

I think it is an Americanized version of a program that appeared in Canada in December.  They probably removed all the references to beavers.

Offline meiza

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Re: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #2 on: 02/09/2008 11:58 PM »
Does all Soviet space exploration have to be disapproved of so much? The title is idiotic to say the least...

Offline Sid454

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Re: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #3 on: 02/12/2008 04:49 AM »
I'll be watching it also lunokhod was the first robotic rover of any kind placed on another celestial body which is very impressive in it's own right.
It is a pretty cheesy title for what was a very impressive technical achievement which in someways was as important as the apollo landings.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #4 on: 02/12/2008 11:31 AM »
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meiza - 9/2/2008  6:58 PM

Does all Soviet space exploration have to be disapproved of so much? The title is idiotic to say the least...

Why are you assuming that Soviet space exploration is being "disapproved of"?

It's originally a Canadian program aired in Canada last year:

http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/magazine2.html

I suggest filing a protest with their embassy.

Offline mda

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Re: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #5 on: 02/12/2008 03:17 PM »
Indeed, I believe the segment's producers intended the title to mean 'multi-wheeled vehicle equipped and armored to survive an extended lunar trek' rather than 'scary evidence of CCCP's ideological aggression and interplanetary colonization'.


Offline Blackstar

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Re: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #6 on: 02/12/2008 05:32 PM »
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mda - 12/2/2008  10:17 AM

Indeed, I believe the segment's producers intended the title to mean 'multi-wheeled vehicle equipped and armored to survive an extended lunar trek' rather than 'scary evidence of CCCP's ideological aggression and interplanetary colonization'.

It's a lousy title, I agree.  But I think I know where the title comes from--the crew that was assigned to drive the rovers was a tank crew.  And the Soviet Union treated the Lunokhods like they were tanks, taking territory rather than exploring.

Lunokhod was in many ways a disappointing program because it could have been so much more.  The Soviet Union wanted a propaganda victory after Apollo.  So they turned Lunokhod into a demonstration of engineering, rather than a science program.  They wanted to be able to brag about how many kilometers they drove each day.  So the science got relegated to second priority.  As Spirit and Opportunity have demonstrated, the point of having a rover is to go to interesting stuff, not simply to _go_.

Offline Stephan

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Re: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #7 on: 02/12/2008 06:19 PM »
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Blackstar - 12/2/2008  7:32 PM
But I think I know where the title comes from--the crew that was assigned to drive the rovers was a tank crew.
I've seen it (broadcasted on french TV), that was exactly the point of the producers, no offense to Russians ...
Best regards, Stephan

Offline Namechange User

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Re: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #8 on: 02/12/2008 08:35 PM »
Quote
meiza - 9/2/2008  6:58 PM

Does all Soviet space exploration have to be disapproved of so much? The title is idiotic to say the least...

Sometimes if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck.  This looked like a tank that was on the moon.  I don't think it takes a leap of faith to figure where the name came from.  Liberal guilt....it astonds me at times.
Enjoying viewing the forum a little better now by filtering certain users.

Offline Sid454

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Re: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #9 on: 02/12/2008 11:13 PM »
I guess it fits since a tank crew did drive it and after doing some back study on the engineering and I'm just in awe that they were able to do this in 1970 making it able to survive the lunar night and all it's like a precursor to the MER rovers.

How they keep it from freezing was just ingenious and also explained it's odd shape so simple yet so effective.

I wonder if JPL ever talked with some of the old lunokhod team when they designed the MER rovers?.

Offline Jim

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Re: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #10 on: 02/12/2008 11:25 PM »
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Sid454 - 12/2/2008  7:13 PM

How they keep it from freezing was just ingenious and also explained it's odd shape so simple yet so effective.

I wonder if JPL ever talked with some of the old lunokhod team when they designed the MER rovers?.

No, they didn't.  there is no similarity.  Russians used pressurized compartments (which accounted lunokhod's shape) for for avionics, where as the US and JPL runs avionics in a vacuum

Online Skylab

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RE: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #11 on: 02/13/2008 01:01 AM »
Having just watched the Canadian version (in French  :( ), I have to say it wasn't derogatory at all. The drivers' background and the vehicle's construction (especially of the early prototypes) do make the 'tank' qualification fitting.

Jim Burke (JPL) and Louis Friedman (Planetary Society) do praise the Russian achievements in space robotics. I'd say it's a positive documentary, though other producers might've easily gone for the 'those silly Russians' approach.

PS - For those who have mastered French or will settle for great pics, I can recommend the Arte documentary 'Histoire conquete spatiale sovietique'. But no, I will not link to it! ;)

Online mike robel

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Re: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #12 on: 02/13/2008 01:06 AM »
I, myself, love tanks.  My other car for 16 years was a tank.  :)

Offline Blackstar

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RE: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #13 on: 02/14/2008 03:20 AM »
I enjoyed it.  Lots of great footage.  However, I disliked the stylistic decision to make all the historical footage look like crap.  They dirtied up a lot of footage, probably because they did not want to show great Apollo footage alongside poor Soviet Lunokhod footage.

Offline Rifleman

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RE: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #14 on: 02/18/2008 11:36 AM »
I watched it last night and really enjoyed it. The lunokhod program is an aspect of space exploration that I only knew a little bit about. Its allways good to learn more about something as cool as the lunokhod.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #15 on: 02/18/2008 11:58 AM »
One thing really missing was any discussion of what science they accomplished, if any.  They discussed the instruments on the spacecraft, but what did it actually discover?

Andy Chaikin's article on the Lunokhod in Air & Space Magazine included the claim that there was a clash between the science and driving teams on the two rovers.  The drivers were under orders to maximize the distance and so they ignored the science team, which wanted to investigate certain locations.  That was not mentioned during the show.

Offline simonbp

Re: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #16 on: 02/19/2008 03:50 PM »
Yeah, there wasn't a whole lot of science return from the Lunokhods. If Apollo had never landed, they would be useful, but the simple tests they did were more than eclipsed by what the American astronauts returned. The most useful (and most hyped) instrument was the laser reflector, similar to the one Apollo 11 set up 4 years prior. Lunokhod was an engineering (and political) demonstration, not a science mission...

And I dispute the contention that "the Americans never thought of it"; JPL has been wanting to do a Moon rover for a very long time...

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?Ntt=surveyor+lunar+roving+vehicle&Ntk=all&Ntx=mode+matchall&N=269

Simon ;)

Offline texas_space

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Re: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #17 on: 02/19/2008 04:43 PM »
Pretty good show.

For all the desire to build a moon base, it sure would be nice to send a lunar rover to the polar regions of the Moon to see if water ice is ACTUALLY there.  Seems like a good rover task to me.
"We went to the moon nine times. Why fake it nine times, if we faked it?" - Charlie Duke

Offline Blackstar

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Re: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #18 on: 02/19/2008 07:16 PM »
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simonbp - 19/2/2008  10:50 AM
And I dispute the contention that "the Americans never thought of it"; JPL has been wanting to do a Moon rover for a very long time...

Yeah, I noticed that too.  But I think that their wording was something like "NASA never attempted it until 25 years later," which is true.  But JPL was doing several rover experiments in the 1960s.  What kept these from going forward was Apollo, which sucked all the money out of the room.

Offline Rifleman

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Re: "Tank on the Moon"
« Reply #19 on: 02/19/2008 07:21 PM »
In all fairness, NASA did send three rovers to the moon, they just where not remote controlled. ;)

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