Three engineers working on a spacecraft.
Source: Credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech
Published: April 12, 2019

Ranger 7, America's first successful Moon mission, before launch.

Ranger 7 photographed its way down to target in a lunar plain, soon named Mare Cognitum, south of the crater Copernicus. It sent more than 4,300 pictures from six cameras to waiting scientists and engineers.

The new images revealed that craters caused by impact were the dominant features of the Moon’s surface, even in the seemingly smooth and empty plains. Great craters were marked by small ones, and the small with tiny impact pockmarks, as far down in size as could be discerned — about 16 inches (50 centimeters). The light-colored streaks radiating from Copernicus and a few other large craters turned out to be chains and nets of small craters and debris blasted out in the primary impacts.

ENLARGE

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