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Surveyor 03
Surveyor 3 Mission to Earth's Moon

Goals: Surveyor 3 was to image a potential Apollo landing site from the lunar surface and obtain information on the lunar soil's radar reflectivity, thermal properties, and ability to support the weight of an Apollo lunar module.

Accomplishments: The lander transmitted 6,326 TV pictures of the surrounding area to Earth. But its biggest achievement was scooping up shovelfuls of lunar soil and conducting experiments to see how the soil would stand up to the weight of an Apollo lunar module. Scientists found the soil to have a consistency similar to wet sand, solid enough for the needs of the upcoming Apollo missions.


Key Dates
17 Apr 1967:  Launch
20 Apr 1967:  Lunar Landing
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
Surveyor 03 Facts Apollo 12 astronauts visited Surveyor 3 on the Moon (right).

They removed a camera and soil scoop and brought them back to Earth to study the effects of 31 months on the Moon.

The camera is now on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Science & Technology Features
People Spotlight
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