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Surveyor 5 Footpad
Surveyor 5 Footpad (click to enlarge)

Surveyor 5 Footpad
Date: 11 Sep 1967

This Surveyor 5 image shows its footpad resting on the lunar soil. The trench at right was formed by the footpad sliding during landing. Surveyor 5 landed on the moon on 11 Sept. 1967 at 1.41 N, 23.18 E in Mare Tranquillitatis. The spacecraft landed on the inside edge of a small rimless crater at an angle of about 20 degrees, explaining the sliding. The footpad is about half a meter in diameter.

The purpose of the seven Surveyor missions (five of which were successful) were to land safely on the moon, testing the landing techniques planned for the manned Apollo lunar landers, as well as take close-up images of the surface and make other observations to find locations that would be safe for Apollo landings.

Surveyor 5 was equipped with an alpha-backscatter instrument to determine chemical composition of the soil and a small bar magnet in one of its landing feet to test for magnetic material. Even though it had developed a helium regulator leak and had to land using a hastily and radically re-designed descent profile, the landing was flawless and Surveyor 5 performed even better than its predecessors.

Surveyor 5 was launched on 8 Sept. 1967.

Credit: NASA Planetary Photojournal

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