Russian 10 inch lunar globe, 1961

In 1959, features of the moon invisible from earth were seen and photographed for the first time by the Russian Luna 3 probe. The photographs formed the basis for this lunar globe, prepared in 1961 by P K Shternberg of the State Astronomical Institute in Moscow. This gave the Russians a clear lead in the Space Race, and it was a further 8 years before the Apollo 10 mission of 1969 obtained the data to accurately map the entire lunar surface.

The globe is constructed from a paper fibre and plaster sphere, overlaid with 12 green and cream printed gores and polar calottes. Named lunar regions, seas, craters and mountains are labelled in Cyrillic. A 75 degree segment on the 'dark' side (still unmapped at this time) is left blank, apart from details in Cyrillic script including the scale, dates and reference numbers. The globe is mounted on a simple black bakelite plinth base with a vertical steel axis, terminating in a bakelite finial.

The globe is in as-found, original condition. The photographs show that the map has discoloured with age and has some cracking and loss, particularly around the equator. The seas of Serenity and Tranquillity have been labelled by hand in ink. There is a small chip to the bakelite finial but the base is in fine undamaged condition.

This is an exceptionally rare and valuable globe. Any cleaning or restoration should only be carried out by a highly skilled conservator.

Diameter 10 inches (260mm); overall height 380mm

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