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Luna 2, Today

Of all historical events that could affect our world's future is the Space race, the United States and Russia racing to put the first man on the moon, and despite the soviet union making many firsts, the United States pushed ahead and landed on the moon first. Among these firsts, the Soviet Union achieved was the very first man-made object to ever land on the moon Luna 2 (Also called Lunik 2). Luna 2 launched on September 12th at 6:39 Universal time and 2 days later after traveling an insane 239,900 miles and leaving behind a Sodium gas cloud to determine how gasses would work in space would land on the moon where it still sits today along with its successors that have landed on the moon.


Luna 2 According to Nasa had 5 primary instruments onboard the craft

  1. A three-component Magnetometer which is a tool designed to measure magnetic fields

  2. Six gas-discharge counters which were used in the experiment involving Sodium gas being left in its path

  3. Piezoelectric Detector which refers to the pressing of an object generating a magnetic charge

  4. scintillation counter

  5. And Ion traps



(a picture of the Luna 2 craft)

Luna 2 was not the first object to be sent to the moon however it is the first to successfully land on it, before it was Luna 1 and the YE-1 series of spacecraft, Luna 1 was the first object ever to reach the orbit of the moon and looked incredibly similar to Luna 2 and in fact, launched the same year in 1959 just a few months earlier at the 2nd of January. Luna 3 would launch on the 4th of October that same year however unlike Luna 2 and 1 was not designed to land on the moon but to circle it and take photos of the celestial object. 29 photos were taken which covered around 70% of the moon however when the Russian attempted to retrieve the photos they couldn't due to the low signal strength, 10 days later on the 18th of October 17 photos were recovered from luna 3 although of very low quality before all contact with the spacecraft was lost it is believed that it burnt up in earth's atmosphere.



(Luna 3)

Years later in early January of 1963, the Luna 6 would launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome and attempt another lunar landing similar to its predecessor the Luna 2, unlike the luna 2 however the spacecraft Luna 6 was designed to land softly (as in on landing legs and not crashing into the moons surface like luna 2). Luna 6 would launch on the 4th of January however on the 11th contact would be lost with the spacecraft before it could land on the moon, all was a bit lost however as the information gained from not only the luna 2, 3, and 6 would aid in the creation of the Luna 9, the first spacecraft that would land softly on the moon and would lead to the tech used in the Apollo 11 mission leading to the first man on the moon. Of all history the history of space travel and the disasters and victories that lead to it have the most potential to affect current and future events, rockets developed that barely took orbit over 60 years ago could lead to humans living on the moon 20 years from now. Our advancements in space travel now could be seen in 100 years how we see Luna 2 and it is only time that can tell what history will lead to.


Leian is a Junior at Poudre high school who is in his first year at the Poudre Press and runs a blog called History, Today.



Works Cited

Dolginov, Sh S. “Triaxial Fluxgate Magnetometer.” NASA NSSDCA, NASA, 27 April 2022, https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/experiment/display.action?id=1959-014A-01.

Grahn, Sven. “Jodrell Bank's role in early space tracking activities | The History of Jodrell Bank | Jodrell Bank.” Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, 16 September 2008, https://www.jb.man.ac.uk/history/tracking/part1.html. Accessed 12 September 2022.

“In Depth | Luna 02 – NASA Solar System Exploration.” NASA Solar System Exploration, https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/luna-02/in-depth/. Accessed 9 September 2022.

“Russia's unmanned missions toward the Moon.” RussianSpaceWeb.com, http://www.russianspaceweb.com/spacecraft_planetary_lunar.html. Accessed 12 September 2022.

Williams, David R. “NSSDCA - Spacecraft - Details.” NASA - NSSDCA - Spacecraft - Details, https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraft/display.action?id=1959-014A. Accessed 8 September 2022.

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