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April 17, 2017 - Lunar Hop, Skip, and Jump

Lunar Hop, Skip, and Jump  Fifty years ago this week, the Surveyor 3 spacecraft became the fourth spacecraft to make a successful soft landing on the Moon (following on the heels of Luna 9, Surveyor 1, and Luna 13). During its descent, its landing engines failed to shut down as intended, causing the spacecraft to bounce twice before finally settling safely onto the surface. Surveyor 3 returned thousands of images of the Moon’s surface and was the first lunar probe to use an extendable sampling arm to manipulate the lunar soil. Two and a half years after it landed, Surveyor 3 was visited by the crew of Apollo 12, which landed a few hundred meters away. They photographed the spacecraft and returned some of its instruments to Earth to study how they were affected by a long stay on the lunar surface.

Image Credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

April 17-23, 2017

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Monday 17

Easter Monday (Canada)

1967: Surveyor 3 launched
1969: First X-24A lifting body glide test
1970: Apollo 13 crew returns to Earth
1998: STS-90 Columbia launched

Tuesday 18

2014: LADEE spacecraft intentionally crashed into Moon at end of mission

Wednesday 19

Last Qtr Moon 5:57 AM ET

1967: Surveyor 3 lands on Moon
1971: Salyut 1 launched, first space station.
1982: Salyut 7 launched
1993: 200th Soviet / Russian spacewalk
2001: STS-100 Endeavour launched

Thursday 20

Mercury in inferior conjunction
Pluto appears stationary

1972: Apollo 16 lands on Moon

Friday 21

Lyrid meteor shower

1997: Cremated remains of 24 people launched into orbit aboard Pegasus rocket in first space funeral

Saturday 22

Neptune 0.2° north of Moon
Lyrid meteor shower

2010: X-37B spacecraft launched

Sunday 23

Venus 5° north of Moon

1858: Max Planck born
1962: Ranger 4 launched
1963: M2-F1 lifting body first free flight
1996: Priroda module launched to Mir space station

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.