A Moment of Science

You Can Just Crash at My Place

Most of us picture astronauts bouncing gracefully on the moons surface, but what we don't see are the crash landings!

a 1959 soviet stamp depicting the Luna 2 moon landing

Photo: Joseph Morris

It happened in 1959, when the Soviets intentionally flew a probe into the Sea of Serenity.

Ever since people have been on earth they have looked up at the sky in wonder. They must have thought, some day, perhaps we will be able to crash into the moon.

The very first moon landing was, in fact, a moon crashing. It happened in 1959, when the Soviets intentionally flew a probe into the Sea of Serenity. All the way down, the Luna 2 space probe snapped pictures before hitting the dirt.

The American space program followed suit. In the 1960′s, we crashed a series of probes called the Rangers into the moon, each one about the size of a car. Five crashes, with great pictures all the way down.

Want to study the moon for seismographic data? Why not crash rocket boosters into it, the way mission control did with Saturn rockets in the 1970s?

In fact, a total of five NASA lunar orbiters, four Soviet probes, one Japanese craft, two Apollo satellites,  and a Lunar prospector have crashed into the moon. Never fear, though, more collisions are in the works.

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