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The spacecraft soft-landed on the Moon in the Sea of Rains on November 17 at 03:47 UTC. The lander had dual ramps from which the payload, Lunokhod 1, could descend to the lunar surface. At 06:28 UT the rover moved onto the Moon's surface.
During its 322 Earth days of operations, Lunokhod travelled 10,540 metres (6.55 miles) and returned more than 20,000 TV images and 206 high-resolution panoramas. In addition, it performed 25 lunar soil analyses with its RIFMA x-ray fluorescence spectrometer and used its penetrometer at 500 different locations.
The final location of Lunokhod 1 was uncertain until 2010, as lunar laser ranging experiments had failed to detect a return signal from it since 1971. On March 17, 2010, Albert Abdrakhimov found both the lander and the rover in Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter image M114185541RC. In April 2010, the Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser-ranging Operation (APOLLO) team from the University of California at San Diego used the LRO images to locate the orbiter closely enough for laser range (distance) measurements. On April 22, 2010 and days following, the team successfully measured the distance several times. The intersection of the spheres described by the measured distances then pinpoint the current location of Lunokhod 1 to within 1 meter. APOLLO is now using Lunokhod 1's reflector for experiments, as they discovered, to their surprise, that it was returning much more light than other reflectors on the Moon. According to a NASA press release, APOLLO researcher Tom Murphy said, "We got about 2,000 photons from Lunokhod 1 on our first try. After almost 40 years of silence, this rover still has a lot to say."