LRO Provides Flashback to 1966

Article written: 30 Sep , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

On June 2, 1966 the Surveyor 1 spacecraft soft landed on the Moon, the first US spacecraft to set down on another body. Now, 43 years later the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera has spotted this historic spacecraft, sitting silently on the Moon’s surface. The scene shows the spacecraft (annotated with an arrow, and the shadow shows up very well) just south of a 40 m diameter crater and about 110 m northwest of a 190 m diameter crater lined with boulders. The landing site is in the northeast corner of the Flamsteed Ring, a 100 km diameter impact crater almost completely buried by mare lavas such that all that remains exposed is the upper part of the original crater rim.

Surveyor 1 took its own picture on the Moon back in 1966. Credit: NASA

Surveyor 1 took its own picture on the Moon back in 1966. Credit: NASA

Surveyor 1 collected over 11,000 images, most during the first lunar day between landing and July 7, 1966. The spacecraft continued to operate until January 7, 1967. The Surveyor images demonstrated that the lunar surface was strong enough to support a landed vehicle or a human. The detailed images also indicated that the surface was composed of a granular material interpreted to be produced by the impact of various size meteors over billions of years.

And 43 years later we figured out some H20 and OH were also part of the mix.

See the entire image swath at the LROC site.

Source: LROC


1 Response

  1. DBergeron says

    Why is the shadow of Surveyor 1 on the sun side of the vehicle? The sun is clearly shining from the right side of the picture, but the shadow is on the right side of the vehicle.

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