The first of two robotic lunar rovers landed on the Moon by the Soviet Union as part of its Lunokhod program. The Luna 17 spacecraft carried Lunokhod 1 to the Moon in 1970. It was the first remote-controlled robot “rover” to freely move across the surface of an astronomical object beyond the Earth.
The Soviet rover Lunokhod 0 was intended to be the first roving remote-controlled robot on the Moon, but crashed during a failed start of the launcher 19 February 1969.
The lunar vehicle with eight independent wheels was 2.3 meters long. Lunokhod 1 was equipped with a cone-shaped antenna, a highly directional helical antenna, four television cameras, and special extendable devices to test the lunar soil for soil density and mechanical properties.
Lunokhod 1 operated on the lunar surface for eleven lunar days (321 Earth days) and traversed a total distance of 10.54 km. Controllers finished the last communications session with Lunokhod 1 on September 14, 1971. Attempts to re-establish contact were finally discontinued and the operations of Lunokhod 1 officially ceased on October 4, 1971.