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Washington, DC 20090-8199
Surveyor 1 Lunar Lander On June 2, 1966, a robot alien sent from the United States landed on The Moon. This was the first US “soft landing” on Moon (the Soviets had a previous soft landing, known as Luna 9, four months earlier).
Surveyor transmitted 11,237 photographs to earth.
Surveyor was a wonderful series of spacecraft — if only they made it to their destination. In summer camp as a kid, I hung around the canteen waiting to hear news on radio on how they were doing. I know two crashed, but don’t recall the postmortems on the causes. I got deep into 3, 6 and 7 because of their robotic aspects — that shovel — and because of 6‘s being the first to lift off the lunar surface and settle back down. (I believe one of the series didn’t have the arm in order to save weight for something else, but I could be wrong.) I also know the JPL report kindly sent me by NASA on Surveyor 3 made a big impression because of a figure it had, one with two non-orthogonal coordinate systems overlaid on a picture of 3‘s work area. It was used to figure out where to position and place the arm and shovel.
I learned a lot from these reports, even as a junior high school kid:
So, just paying attention was incredibly informative and educational.
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