The Moon Guide
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U. S. N. O.
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The phase of the Moon right now

Phase

spacer Exploring the Moon
< Map of lunar landings

See also the Lunar Exploration Timeline at the National Space Science Data Center:
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunar/lunartimeline.html

Probe Launch date Results
Luna 1 1959 January 2 Missed Moon on January 4 by 6000 km. Intended lunar impact.
Luna 2 1959 September 12 Hit Moon September 13 in eastern Mare Imbrium. First man-made object to reach Moon.
Luna 3 1959 October 4 Photographed Moon’s far side on October 7.
Ranger 3 1962 January 26 Missed Moon on January 28 by 36,800 km. Intended hard-lander.
Ranger 4 1962 April 23 Impacted Moon’s far side on April 26. Intended hard-lander.
Ranger 5 1962 October 18 Missed Moon on October 21 by 724 km. Intended hard-lander.
Luna 4 1963 April 2 Missed Moon on April 5 by 8,500 km. Intended hard-lander.
1964 January 30 Hit Moon February 2. Television system failed.
Ranger 7 1964 July 28 Hit Moon July 31 in southeastern Oceanus Procellarum (an area now known as Mare Cognitum), returning 4,308 close-up photographs.
Ranger 8 1965 February 17 Hit Moon February 20 in Mare Tranquillitatis, returning 7,137 close-up photographs.
Ranger 9 1965 March 21 Hit Moon March 24 in the crater Alphonsus, returning 5,814 close-up photographs.
Luna 5 1965 May 9 Hit Moon May 12. Intended lander.
Luna 6 1965 June 8 Missed Moon by 160,000 km on June 11. Intended lander.
Zond 3 1965 July 18 Flew behind Moon on July 20, photographing areas not covered by Luna 3. Continued towards Mars for long-range communications tests.
Luna 7 1965 October 4 Hit Moon October 7. Intended lander.
Luna 8 1965 December 3 Hit Moon December 6. Intended lander.
Luna 9 1966 January 31 Landed in western Oceanus Procellarum February 3. Returned photographs from the surface for three days.
Luna 10 1966 March 31 Entered lunar orbit April 3. Measured magnetic field, meteoroids.
Surveyor 1 1966 May 30 Landed June 2 in Oceanus Procellarum near crater Flamsteed. Returned 11,240 photographs.
Lunar Orbiter 1 1966 August 10 Entered lunar orbit August 14. Returned 229 photographs.
Surveyor 2 1966 September 20 Hit Moon September 23 after control system failed.
Luna 11 1966 August 24 Entered lunar orbit August 27. Intended photographic mission.
Luna 12 1966 October 22 Entered lunar orbit October 25. Photographed the surface.
Lunar Orbiter 2 1966 November 6 Entered lunar orbit November 10. Returned 817 photographs.
Luna 13 1966 December 21 Landed in northwestern Oceanus Procellarum December 24. Photographed the surface, tested soil.
Lunar Orbiter 3 1967 February 5 Entered lunar orbit February 8. Returned 626 photographs.
Surveyor 3 1967 April 17 Landed April 20 in Oceanus Procellarum. Returned 6,326 photographs. Dug soil with mechanical arm. Visited by Apollo 12 astronauts in 1969 November.
Lunar Orbiter 4 1967 July 14 Entered lunar orbit May 8. Returned 546 photographs.
Surveyor 4 1967 August 1 Landed in Sinus Medii on July 17. Radio contact lost prior to touchdown.
Lunar Orbiter 5 1967 September 8 Entered lunar orbit August 5. Returned 844 photographs.
Surveyor 5 1967 September 8 Landed September 11 in southern MareTranquillitatis. Returned 19,118 photographs. Analysed soil by bombardment with alpha particles.
Surveyor 61967 November 7Landed November 10 in Sinus Medii. Returned 29,952 photographs. Analysed soil with alpha-particle instrument. Retro-rockets re-fired on November 17 to move the craft 2.4 m sideways
Surveyor 7 1968 January 7 Landed January 10 near crater Tycho. Returned 21,038 photographs. Carried mechanical arm and surface analysis instrument.
Luna 14 1968 April 7 Entered lunar orbit April 10. Measured magnetic and gravitational fields, solar wind particles.
Zond 5 1968 September 14 Unmanned test of circumlunar Soyuz. Carried biological specimens. Splashed down in Indian Ocean September 21.
Zond 6 1968 November 10 Unmanned test of circumlunar Soyuz. Photographed lunar farside. Landed in Soviet Union November 17.
Luna 15 1969 July 13 Hit Moon July 21 in Mare Crisium. Intended sample-return mission.
Zond 7 1969 August 7 Repeat of Zond 6 mission. Landed in Soviet Union August 14.
Luna 16 1970 September 12 Landed in Mare Fecunditatis September 20. Returned to Earth September 24 with 100 g of lunar soil.
Zond 8 1970 October 20 Similar to previous Zonds, with modified reentry trajectory. Splashed down in Indian Ocean October 27.
Luna 17 1970 November 10 Landed in western Mare Imbrium November 17. Carried Lunokhod 1 rover.
Luna 18 1971 September 2 Hit Moon September 11. Intended sample-return mission.
Luna 19 1971 September 28 Entered lunar orbit October 3. Studied lunar surface and lunar environment.
Luna 20 1972 February 14 Landed in northern Mare Fecunditatis February 21. Returned to Earth February 25 with 30 g soil sample.
Luna 21 1973 January 8 Landed in eastern Mare Serenitatis January 15. Carried Lunokhod 2 rover.
Luna 22 1974 May 29 Entered lunar orbit June 2. Studied Moon and near-lunar space.
Luna 23 1974 October 28 Landed in Mare Crisium November 6. Damaged drill prevented sample return.
Luna 24 1976 August 9 Landed in southeastern Mare Crisium (same area as failed Luna 23) on August 18. Returned to Earth August 23 with 170 g soil sample.
LCROSS 2009 June 17 Lunar Orbiter and Impactor
Chang'e 3 1 December 2013 Lunar Lander and Rover
Text by Ian Ridpath

 


Aldrin on the lunar surface

The first explorers

Landers and orbiters

Sample returns and lunar rovers

Map of lunar landings

Timeline 1

Apollo To The Moon!

Apollo's Chariots

Meeting The Challenge

Repeating The Feat

Driving on the Moon

Heading for the Hills

Apollo landing chronology

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