Surveyor 5: A Hole-in-One
Surveyor 5 sitting in a 10 meter diameter crater, LROC NAC image M106726943LE, width approx. 960 meters. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University|
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Surveyor 5 landed on Mare Tranquillitatis in September of 1967, in what must have been a harrowing touchdown. As pictures arrived on the ground it became apparent that the spacecraft had landed on the steep slopes of a small impact crater. After careful analysis of the images, including star field pictures, the Surveyor team was able to determine that the local slope was 19.7 degrees!
Enlargement of Surveyor 5 image. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University
The spacecraft performed all its assigned tasks, returning thousands of detailed pictures and measuring the chemistry of the soil. Less than two years after Surveyor 5 landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set down the Lunar Module Eagle less 100 km away, and returned rocks with chemistry similar to those measured by the Surveyor.
› LRO Camera Web site