In Pics: 7 Spacecraft That Successfully Landed On Moon And Explored Lunar Surface

In Pics: 7 Spacecraft That Successfully Landed On Moon And Explored Lunar Surface

On September 5, 2019, the whole world was waiting eagerly for ISRO’s ambitious Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft for its soft landing on the Moon. However, communications with Chandrayaan-2's Vikram lander to ISRO's ground station in Bengaluru were lost minutes before touchdown. Before the attempt of Chandrayaan-2, there were seven spacecraft that successfully explored the Moon. News Nation brings to you the images and description of the spacecraft that landed on Moon and give us the important information about the lunar surface. 

Image: NASA

In Pics: 7 Spacecraft That Successfully Landed On Moon And Explored Lunar Surface

The Luna 9 spacecraft above performed the first soft landing on another planetary body. Following a series of failures, the Soviet probe touched down in the Moon's Oceanus Procellarum region February 3, 1966. It accomplished this milestone in lunar exploration only shortly after the death of Sergei Korolev, the father of the Soviet Space Program. Reportedly, Korolev's colleagues wished to dedicate the Luna 9 mission to him but were unable to as his role as the Chief Designer was still a state secret. A pole, just visible extending at the lower left, sensed the impact with the lunar surface, triggering the spacecraft to eject the weighted, egg-shaped capsule (upper right). The 250 pound capsule then struck the surface, rolled upright, unfolded four spring actuated petals to steady itself, and transmitted the first views from the lunar surface back to Earth.

Image: NASA

In Pics: 7 Spacecraft That Successfully Landed On Moon And Explored Lunar Surface

Surveyor 1, the first of a series of seven robotic spacecraft sent to the moon to gather data in preparation for NASA's Apollo missions, was the first spacecraft to make a true soft landing on the moon. As such, it was one of the great successes of NASA's early lunar and interplanetary program. The soft landing was achieved using a retrorocket and a bank of three thrusters to slow the lander's speed from almost 6,000 miles per hour to just 3 miles per hour and safely touch down on the lunar surface. Over a period of about 30 days, Surveyor 1 transmitted more than 11,000 photographs as well as data on the moon's surface and temperature.

Image: NASA

In Pics: 7 Spacecraft That Successfully Landed On Moon And Explored Lunar Surface

Soviet Union's second spacecraft to touch the Moon successfully was Luna 13. It landed on December 21, 1966 and measured the soil's physical and mechanical properties and its radiation characteristics. The mission was carried out by the Lavochkin Association. 

Image: NASA

In Pics: 7 Spacecraft That Successfully Landed On Moon And Explored Lunar Surface

After Surveyor 1's initial studies of the lunar surface in 1966, Surveyor 3 made further inroads into preparations for human missions to the moon. Using a surface sampler to study the lunar soil, Surveyor 3 conducted experiments to see how the lunar surface would fare against the weight of an Apollo lunar module. The moon lander, which was the second of the Surveyor series to make a soft landing on the moon, also gathered information on the lunar soil's radar reflectivity and thermal properties in addition to transmitting more than 6,000 photographs of its surroundings. 

In Pics: 7 Spacecraft That Successfully Landed On Moon And Explored Lunar Surface

Equipped with a chemical element analyzer for conducting analyses of the lunar soil, the Surveyor 5 lander was the first spacecraft to do a soil analysis on the moon, or any other world. At the outset, the mission nearly failed due to a leak in the spacecraft's thruster system, but engineers devised an alternate braking sequence to land the spacecraft safely. Returning more than 20,000 photographs taken over three days and making one of the most significant finds of the Surveyor missions (that the moon's surface was likely basaltic rather than powdery and therefore conducive to human exploration), Surveyor 5 became one of the most successful missions of the series.

Image: NASA

In Pics: 7 Spacecraft That Successfully Landed On Moon And Explored Lunar Surface

Part of the highly successful series of lunar landers sent to the moon to examine the feasibility of a future human mission, Surveyor 6 was the first spacecraft to be launched from the surface of the moon. It lifted itself to about 3 meters altitude and flew about 2.5 meters from its initial landing point to further validate Surveyor 5's finding that the lunar soil is basaltic, an important detail for Apollo mission planners. The spacecraft returned nearly 30,000 images of the moon, some of which were photographs of the spacecraft's original landing footprint, which helped scientists determine the lunar soil's mechanical properties.

Image: NASA

In Pics: 7 Spacecraft That Successfully Landed On Moon And Explored Lunar Surface

Launched in 1973 by the Soviet Union's Lavochkin Association, Luna 21 successfully delivered the Lunokhod 2 rover to the surface of the Moon. Luna 21 was sent to the Moon to observe solar X-rays, measure local magnetic fields, and study the mechanical properties of the lunar soil.

Image: NASA

Post Comment (+)
News Nation IOS News Nation Android