I believe this is a picture of Lunokhod 2 (‘Moon Walker’) replica - a record-setting rover used in the Soviet space program in 1973. It is shown on display in the Space Pavilion at Moscow’sExhibition of Achievements of the National Economy (I’m using the old Soviet name for this exhibition park).
While the first Lunokhod looked mainly at dirt. Its success resulted in Lunokhod 2 being fitted with all sorts of electro-magnetic radiation and magnetic field measuring devices; long distance laser ranging equipment; and TV and panoramic photographic equipment.
During the two-week lunar nights it hibernated … kept warm by a Polonium-210 radioactive heating unit.
Between January 15 and mid-May 1973, it covered a record distance of 23 miles - about the distance from the World Trade Center to Great Neck, Long Island - but not in heavy traffic.
photo from: Museums In and Around Moscow; I Baikova; 1983; Raduga.
(as documented on Earth and drawn looking down at the top of Earth)
Last summer they were selling off this little book cheap at an Ottawa museum and I finally got to it a couple of months ago:
Uncentering the Earth - Copernicus and The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres; 2006: William T. Vollman (Not an astronomer)
Ptolemy lived in Egypt, under Roman rule and wrote in Greek. His life span was 90-168 CE.
In 1543 CE when Copernicus published his book On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres it presented a new model to replace Ptolemy’s old understanding of planetary motion shown above.
For about 1500 years, people in astrology-astronomy had polished their advanced math skills, star catalogues, and had extensive experience tracking all the heavenly bodies … But until Copernicus came along … the Earth was still at the centre of the solar system and the universe. They had their reasons: some philosophical and logical, some based on religious texts … Check this yourself: obviously we’re NOT moving and the sun IS: the sun rises, the sun sets - every day.
So without the benefit of telescopes and Newtonian physics (from Isaac Newton 1643-1727) people accepted that the sun went around the Earth. And they accepted that those wacky planets (unlike the ‘fixed’ stars) changed direction in the sky and did these little ‘epicycles’. They even had metal planetary models with built in sub-loops for the planets as they orbited Earth.
I certainly didn’t master all the ideas presented in the book. But it necessarily goes through many BASIC details of our solar system geometry which most of us don’t know, or at least don’t think about very often (see the last line of this post).
It is often interesting ‘in the history of history’ to learn how people have worked so hard to measure, experiment and reason their ways to new understandings - ‘people’ can be pretty ingenious.
And I’ve always thought the idea of building a whole physical model with planet ‘epicycles’ was a strangely interesting way to see things.
Parting rhetorical query:
How far is Mars from us? If you don’t know this right now, could you memorize a value to be ready in case you are asked some other time?