Lunar Landings

Late last year, I took a single image of our Moon which after some tweaking (if I may say) – looked pretty impressive.

From the available detail of the image I was interested to find which lunar landings (American and Soviet) – could actually be seen from my back garden.

With the help of ‘wikipedia’  and the iPAD app – ‘Moon HD’ I start plotting the landing sites.

Lunar Landings

In all 16 sites were visible. See below:

Soviet Union’s Luna Programme 

Luna 2
The first man-made object to reach the surface of the moon. Crashed on the surface as planned on September 13th 1959.


Luna 9
First man-made object to make a soft landing on the Moon or any body other than the Earth. Landed on February 3rd 1966, Luna 9 confirmed that the Moon’s surface could support landing spacecraft. Previously, some scientists had feared that a lander would sink into a thick layer of lunar dust.

Interestingly Luna 3 was a successful moon flyby, however between 3 and 9 there were an actual 13 ‘luna launches’ which all failed.


Luna 13
The third unmanned spacecraft to successfully land on the moon – 24th December 1966, after Luna 9 and Surveyor 1.


Luna 17
Luna 17 carried the Lunokhod 1 rover, the first robotic rover to explore another world. The rover operated on the moon for 322 Earth days and traveled 10.54 kilometers. Landed 17th November 1970.


Luna 21
Luna 21 deployed the Soviet Union’s second robotic lunar rover, Lunokhod 2. Landed January 15th 1973


NASA’s Surveyor Program 
Surveyor 1
The first American robotic Moon lander.Landed on June 2nd 1966, four months after Luna 9.


Surveyor 3 (+ Apollo 12)
Surveyor 3 was the 3rd lander of the American unmanned Surveyor program. Landed April 20th 1967.

Interesting to note – It is widely claimed that a common type of bacterium, Streptococcus mitis, accidentally contaminated the Surveyor’s camera prior to launch, and that the bacteria survived dormant in the harsh lunar environment for two and one-half years, supposedly then to be detected when Apollo 12 brought the Surveyor’s camera back to the Earth.[4] This claim has been cited by some as providing credence to the idea of interplanetary panspermia, but more importantly, it led NASA to adopt strict abiotic procedures for space probes to prevent contamination of the planet Mars and other astronomical bodies that are suspected of having conditions possibly suitable for life. Most dramatically, the Galileo space probe was deliberately destroyed at the end of its mission by crashing it into Jupiter, to avoid the possibility of contaminating the Jovian moon Europa with bacteria from Earth.


Surveyor 5
5th lunar lander from America. Landed 11th September 1967


Surveyor 6
6th lunar lander from America. Landed 7th November 1967

Surveyor 6 was the first rocket launch from the moon’s surface which was monitored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. It used its liquid-fuelled vernier engines to lift itself from its original landing site to a position some 10 feet away


Surveyor 7
7th and last lunar lander from America. Landed 10th January 1968


Apollo Program
Apollo 11
The first manned landing on the Moon. July 20th 1969. “We came in peace for all mankind”


Apollo 12 (+ Surveyor 3)
Landed November 19, 1969
The second manned landing on the Moon. Returned parts of the Surveyor 3 probe to Earth for analysis, along with 34kg of lunar rocks and soil.


Apollo 14
Landed February 5, 1971
The third manned landing, resuming after the near-disastrous Apollo 13 mission. Between scientific and engineering activities, astronaut Alan Shepard famously golfed on the moon.


Apollo 15
Landed July 30, 1971
Apollo 15 was the ninth manned mission in the United States’ Apollo space program, the fourth to land on the Moon, and the eighth successful manned mission. It was the first of what were termed “J missions”, long stays on the Moon, with a greater focus on science than had been possible on previous missions. It was also the first mission on which the Lunar Roving Vehicle was used.


Apollo 16
Landed April 21, 1972
First manned landing in a lunar highlands area.


Apollo 17
To date the final manned expedition to the moon. Landed December 11th 1972


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