ANTENNA FROM RUSSIA'S ROBOT LUNAR ROVER.
Conical low gain antenna designed for a Soviet Lunokhod ("Moonwalker") vehicle, the cone 14 inches tall, constructed of fiberglass with spiral metal banding and braided-metal-sheathed cable. Fixed to a 17-inch swing-arm pivoting on 5-inch bracket. Mounted on later 8 x 16 inch base.
For the first lunar rover: towards the end of the 1960s, Soviet space scientists were developing the extraordinary Lunokhod. It was designed to support the planned manned lunar landings, and explore the lunar surface, working in tandem with the proven Zond and Luna orbiters and landers. In 1966 Luna 9 had made a soft landing on the moon and beamed back images of the landscape. The next step was Lunokhod, a tub-like magnesium alloy shell on wheels, with a hinged lid lined inside with solar cells. In daylight, the lid would open and charge Lunokhod's batteries; in darkness, the lid would close and insulate the machine against the cold lunar night. A team of five experts controlled the vehicle by remote control from Earth.
Carried on Luna 17, Lunokhod 1 landed in November of 1970, and traveled 6.5 miles, sending back numerous pictures of the moon and conducting 25 lunar soil analyses. Beating Apollo 15 to the moon by some months, Lunokhod 1 was the first lunar rover. The second Lunokhod, in 1973 met an unfortunate demise when it accidentally scooped lunar dust onto its radiators and fatally overheated.
The vehicle carried two different types of antenna, high-gain and low-gain. The present antenna is the low-gain version, and was surplus to the Lunokhod program's requirements. Both rovers remain on the lunar surface; Lunokhod 2 was purchased at auction in 1993 by astronaut's son Richard Garriott, making him, in his words, "the world's only private owner of an object on a foreign celestial body."