Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"To Infinity, and Beyond!"

Today is Tuesday, 24 March 2009.

On this date in 1965, also a Tuesday, lunar probe Ranger 9 reached the moon.

Ranger 9’s two predecessors had been designed to take thousands of photographs on lunar approach, before crashing into the surface. (Ranger 8 photos were used to determine the Apollo 11 landing site in the Sea of Tranquility.) Ranger 9 was equipped with television cameras which transmitted photos which were immediately broadcast live on network television.

The photo sequence began 1,468 miles above the lunar surface. The final photo was taken 15 minutes later, at 1/3rd mile and 2/10ths second above the crash site.

I was in 7th grade, and recall watching in wonder and hope.

A selection of photos here (note that final photo is truncated by crash): http://www.lpi.usra.edu/resources/ranger/catalog/9/B/.


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