These are among my favorite photographs of all time. I loved them years ago and they still command my awe and wonder.
Here they are now, from the archives of the wonderful Soviet Moon Images website, still up after all these years:
On December 24, 1966, Luna-13 made the second Soviet landing on the Moon. It transmitted 5 cycloramas over a period of several days (note shadows becoming less elongated).
These are huge so click em to see them full size. In the past, due to my senior moments I have referred to these images as being from the Lunakhod mission(s), but they are not, they are from Luna, which took place well before Lunakhod. So embarrassing.
Once we finally get up there again, I would urge those lucky enough to be there to inspect this site. It will be profound … of this I am certain and I just feel it in my bones.
My question remains the same, however. What are these things. I have, in the past, spent many hours repeatedly looking over the exploded drawings of and the engineering plans for this craft. The result of all that looking was and remains that the objects of interest that appear in these images are simply not parts of the Luna-13 spacecraft. Seriously. They are not.
Let this sink in.