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Surveyor 05
Surveyor 5 Mission to Earth's Moon

Goals: Surveyor 5 was to support the upcoming Apollo missions by performing a soft landing in Mare Tranquillitatis and then taking pictures of the lunar surface, by firing a rocket engine after landing to see how much the lunar soil is disturbed, and by analyzing the soil.

Accomplishments: When a leak in the thruster system threatened the mission, engineers saved the day by devising and executing an alternate braking sequence. The spacecraft returned over 20,000 pictures taken during 3 lunar days. Soil analysis (the first ever on another world) revealed a basalt-like composition: more than half oxygen, followed by silicon and aluminum. The amount of material sticking to the footpad magnets suggested a mix of pulverized basalt and 10 percent to 12 percent magnetite with no more than 1 percent metallic iron. Firing the main engine for 0.55 second produced no crater or significant dust cloud.


Key Dates
8 Sep 1967:  Launch
11 Sep 1967:  Lunar Landing (00:46:42 UT)
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
Surveyor 05 Facts Surveyor 5 performed the first on-site soil analysis of a celestial body beyond Earth (right).

It was the first spacecraft in the Surveyor series to carry a scientific instrument.

Engineers used pencils instead of computers to make hasty calculations to save the troubled spacecraft before landing.
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Al Hibbs Al Hibbs
Al Hibbs decided as a five-year-old that he wanted to go to the Moon. He did qualify as an astronaut, but his legacy is in robotic exploration. Read More...
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Last Updated: 1 Dec 2010