MOSCOW -- Russia's Luna-9 rocket broadcast television pictures from the moon today.
In Britain scientists tuned in on the broadcast and said they got a picture of the Lunar surface that appeared to be a rocky desert.
Scientists at the Jodrell Bank Observatory under Sir Bernard Lovell picked up the picture signals from Luna-9 by using a 250-foot telescope and said they were "fair." They said the picture showed quite small features.
Lovell said the fact that Luna-9, which landed Thursday, was able to transmit pictures shortly after touching down indicated "the probe had landed on a nam surface without encountering any great depths of dust."
Soviet television jubilantly announced that Luna-9 had taken television pictures and said they would be shown on earth in due course."
The Soviets also predicted that the first man on the moon would be a Russian.
Lovell borrowed a facsimile machine which is used by news papers to receive pnotograpns by wire. The pictures are "scanned" in Horizontal Lines something like a television broadcast and are received on sensitive paper by newspapers.
At first he used a tape recording of the signals from the moon and got only a meaningless jumble of lines.
He pointed the big telescope at the moon this afternoon and started picking up the television signals. They came in clear this time.
"It is clearly a verv tremendous moment when the first photograph from man-made cameras working on the surface of the moon was received at Jodrell," Lovell said, "It is quite fantastic.
"It adds very much to the knowledge about the lunar surface. When we get a group of these photagraphs we will be able to interpret them in more detail.
"The first photograph is of extraordinary quality. We don't know the scale of the rocks shown in it, but we suspect it shows very small features."
He said the photographs would be released to the press.
Tass, the official Soviet news agency, said the Luna-9 station had begun scanning the lunar landscape and transmitting the data to the earth at 4:50 a.m. (8:50 p.m. EST Thursday).
Four radio communication sessions with the moon station were held today for a total of three hours and 20 minutes, Tass said.
While Tass set no target date for a Russian manned moon landing, the agency predicted Soviet spacemen would be flying to planets by 1976. The Soviets must first complete successful space docking techniques such as carried out in the last American Gemini launch.
Since the United States does not expect to attempt a soft landing before next May, the Soviet achievement may have pushed the Russians ahead of America in the race to the moon. The United States hopes to land a man on the moon by 1970.