A Russian lunar rover that has been sat on the moon for 37 years has been spotted by a bloke with nothing better to do with his time.
Phil Stooke, a researcher at the University of Western Ontario, studied images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) that were released this week.
After a a few hours of squinting - attempting to match up the pictures with details with the book he'd written entitled The International Atlas of Lunar Exploration - Stooke was able to pinpoint the exact spot at which the lunar vehicle, Lunokhod 2, gave up the ghost.
The unmanned rover made a 35-kilometre trek across the moon's surface in a number of stages during 1973. It was abandoned, clapped out, in June of that year. It had completed the longest journey a robot has yet made on a surface that is not on Earth.
"The tracks were visible at once," said Stooke in a university handout. "We can see where [Lunokhod 2] measured the magnetic field, driving back and forth over the same route to improve the data. And we can also see where it drove into a small crater, and accidentally covered its heat radiator with soil as it struggled to get out again," he added.
"That ultimately caused it to overheat and stop working. And the rover itself shows up as a dark spot right where it stopped."