Science: First to the Far Side

Lunik III rounded the moon and this week started its slow turn back toward the earth, just as the Russians said it would.

The Russian space vehicle skimmed past the moon at a distance of 4,300 miles, then moved on into space, gradually slowing down. As it passed. Lunik III was deflected by the moon's gravity, which made it veer in the moon's direction, like a child swinging on a gatepost. But the tug was not enough to make it curve sharply and start right back. Instead, it swung out 67,000 miles beyond the moon's orbit (and 292,000 miles from the earth);...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!