TV Highlights

Tanks on the Moon

Discovery Science - 8pm

Who's in it?

Space historians spill the moondust on the incredible Soviet project to land robots on the lunar surface. Which they actually did do.

In a nutshell

The basic narrative of the space race goes something like this: the Soviet Union put the first man in space, and the United States put the first man on the Moon. And that, minus a bunch more missions, sums the situation up. Basically a case of even stevens, with each side having its own claim to greatness. In fact, you've probably never thought of Russia and the Moon in the same sentence. The Moon was an American thing. The Moon was all Apollo and bouncing astronauts and mom's apple pie, right?

Not quite. The Soviets DID make it to the Moon. They put two robots on it – cool-looking, almost steampunk-seeming machines called Lunokhods, back in the early 70s. It's a secret saga of the space race, and still completely unknown to many of us. This is the story of the mission, how it started with disaster and how, eventually, the USSR went to the Moon.

What's the verdict?

Just when you think you've heard it all about the days of the lunar landings, something like this comes along to utterly blow your mind. Communists on the moon: not so much one small step for man, as one small step for Marx…

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07-07-2011