For the last 50 years or so we have been using wheeled robots and vehicles to explore other worlds from secret Soviet lunar rovers to the first lunar car to the latest Mars Rovers, we owe a lot to our extra-terrestrial wheeled helpers.The Russians slipped even further behind on their development of the mighty N-1 rocket. Four N-1s were test launched between 1969 and 1972, but they all blew up and the programme was scrapped.
image/text credit: Curious Droid
As the Apollo programme neared its climax in the late 1960s, the Soviet Union was desperately trying to beat the United States to the Moon. President Kennedy’s daring goal of putting a man on the Moon before the end of the decade had caught the Russians by surprise.
image credit: Curious Droid
In response, they secretly began to prepare a series of manned Moon shots that, they hoped, would culminate in a manned landing before Apollo.
In this video, we look at some of the ideas for Extra-Terrestrial vehicles that didn’t make it as well the most famous and successful but until recently unknown Soviet-designed models to compete with Apollo.
Had Apollo faltered, a Russian might well have been first to orbit the Moon. But, in retrospect, it is doubtful whether the manned landing programme could have gone ahead with the unreliable N-1.