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.

October 20, 1996
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Surveyor Slides
Credit: The Surveyor Project, NASA

Explanation: "Safe!" -- In September 1967 (during regular season play), while making a successful soft landing on the Moon's Mare Tranquillitatis, the Surveyor 5 lander actually slid several feet. Equipped with television cameras and some soil sampling experiments, the US Surveyor spacecraft were intended to determined if the lunar surface at chosen locations was suitable 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 lunar soil, the footpad is about 20 inches in diameter.

Tomorrow's picture: Orionids Meteor Shower Peaks

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
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