Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2000 May 13
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

Surveyor Slides
Credit: The Surveyor Project, NASA

Explanation: "Safe!" In September 1967 (during regular season play), the Surveyor 5 lander actually slid several feet while making a successful soft landing on the Moon's Mare Tranquillitatis. Equipped with television cameras and soil sampling experiments, the US Surveyor spacecraft were intended to determine if the lunar surface at chosen locations was safe for manned landings. Surveyor 5 touched down on the inside edge of a small crater inclined at about 20 degrees. Its footpad slipped and dug the trench visible in the picture. Covered with dusty lunar soil, the footpad is about 20 inches in diameter.

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.