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The Surveyor Digitization Project

Image: This image of Earth was captured by Surveyor 7 in 1968. The image, stored on a 70 millimeter film reel negative, also contains calibration metadata. NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory

"It's hard to believe, but just three years before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon in 1969, humanity had yet to soft-land anything there. If the United States was really going to put astro-boots on the ground, it would be nice to get a preliminary look at the surface. In 1964 and 1965, three camera-equipped spacecraft called Ranger crash-landed into the moon, giving scientists their first up-close look. The Soviet Union's Luna 9 gently touched down in the Ocean of Storms in February 1966, becoming the first spacecraft to send home images from the surface. Four months later, the U.S. followed suit with Surveyor 1, the first of seven robotic spacecraft sent to investigate Luna firma between 1966 and 1968. Two didn't make it in one piece, but of the five that did, some 87,000 images were relayed back to Earth via television cameras. Astonishingly, less than two percent of those images have ever been seen. That's according to a team of scientists at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL), which plan to bring Surveyor's unseen work to light. The group, led by Dr. Shane Byrne, will digitize the entire collection and release it into the public domain."

More at Planetary Society: "Surveyor Digitization Project Will Bring Thousands of Unseen Lunar Images to Light"

Remembering Surveyor 7

Protecting Historic Lunar Hardware

"Until more formal U.S. Government guidance is developed and perhaps a multilateral approach is developed to reflect various nations' views on lunar hardware of scientific and historic value, NASA has assembled this document that contains the collected technical knowledge of its personnel - with advice from external experts and potential space-faring entities - and provides interim recommendations for lunar vehicle design and mission planning teams. As such, this document does not represent mandatory USG or international requirements; rather, it is offered to inform lunar spacecraft mission planners interested in helping preserve and protect lunar historic artifacts and potential science opportunities for future missions."

Full report: NASA's Recommendations to Space-Faring Entities: How to Protect and Preserve the Historic and Scientific Value of U.S. Government Lunar Artifacts

This audio is from a Lunar Orbiter tape made on 24 Feb 1967. In the tape you can hear the techs talking about whether the "Surveyor" or "Luna 9" spacecraft could be seen in any images. Both spacecraft had landed on the lunar surface.

NASA Lunar Orbiter Video: Assignment, Shoot the Moon (1967)

National Archives: "This film summarizes the exploration of the Moon conducted through unmanned Ranger, Surveyor and Lunar Orbiter spacecraft, and shows how such detailed data and photography contributed to the first manned flights to the Moon. The film describes the complexities of closeup photography of the Moon, and includes good views of craters, mountain ranges and other lunar terrain. This film received the following awards: Golden Eagle Certificate, Council on International Nontheatrical Events (CINE), 1968; and the Award of Merit, American Film Festival, 1968."

Transcript below

This image (LO3_194_H3) was taken by Lunar Orbiter III on 22 February 1967 at 5:24:14 GMT at an altitude of 54.27 km above the lunar surface. High resolution frame 3 clearly shows the Surveyor 1 spacecraft sitting on the lunar surface complete with a long shadow.

Surveyor 1 landed on the Moon on 2 June 1966 in the Ocean of Storms (Oceanus Procellarum) at 2.45 degrees South latitude, 43.22 degrees West longitude.

Larger view

This image has been recovered in its original high resolution format by LOIRP staff from original Lunar Orbiter project data tapes using restored tape drive hardware and will eventually be submitted to the PDS (Planetary Data System).

A full resolution version of this image will be placed online at the NASA Lunar Science Institute.

The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) is located at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA. Funding and support for this project has been provided by NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, NASA Innovative Partnerships Program, NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Ames Research Center, Odyssey Moon LLC, SkyCorp Inc., and SpaceRef Interactive Inc.

For more information on the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) visit http://www.moonviews.com

For information on NASA's Lunar Science Institute visit http://lunarscience.arc.nasa.gov/

For information on NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate visit http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/


Surveyor I: Location and Indentification, Science

Science 11 August 1967: Vol. 157 no. 3789 pp. 681-684
DOI: 10.1126/science.157.3789.681
L. Harold Spradley, R. Steinbacher, M. Grolier, C. Byrne

Surveyor I landed on the lunar surface on 2 June 1966 and obtained more than 11,000 pictures of the environment with its television camera. The same region was photographed by the 24-inch (61-centimeter) camera of Orbiter III on 22 February 1967. Surveyor I has been located in these Orbiter photographs; its image was found and all search and identification criteria were satisfied by the site.

Related Document

Lunar coordinates of Surveyor 1, Charles J. Byrne, 28 April 1967

This image LO3-154-H was taken by Lunar Orbiter III on 20 February 1967 and shows the landing site for both Surveyor III (landed 20 April 1967) and Apollo 12 (landed 19 November 1969).

Figure 1 shows the region without labels. Figure 2 shows major features plus EVA routes.

Figure 1: Apollo 12/Surveyor III landing site as seen by Lunar Orbiter III (larger image)

Figure: 2 Apollo 12/Surveyor III landing site as seen by Lunar Orbiter III with prominent features and EVA routes (larger image)

This image has been recovered in its original high resolution format from original Lunar Orbiter project data tapes using restored tape drive hardware and will eventually be submitted to the PDS (Planetary Data System).

LOIRP Note: We will be putting the full resolution version of this image on the NASA Lunar Science Institute website with the layers preserved for Photoshop for all you folks to have fun with! We only ask that you send us copies of what you do and credit us if you publish it anywhere.

For more information on the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) visit http://www.moonviews.com

For information on NASA's Lunar Science Institute visit http://lunarscience.arc.nasa.gov/

Apollo Landing Site Ellipse II-P-6

Ellipse II-P-6, located in western Mare Tranquillitatis. The center coordinates for the ellipse are 00 degrees 45 minutes north longitude and 23 degrees 37 minutes east latitude. It was the sixth primary site photographed by Lunar Orbiter II. Surveyor V landed approximately 26 kilometers to the north-northwest from the center of the ellipse.

Apollo Landing Site Ellipse II-P-13

Ellipse II-P-13, located in Oceanus Procellarum. The center coordinates for the ellipse are 1 degree 40 minutes north longitude and 41 degrees 40 minutes west latitude. It was the thirteenth and last primary site photographed by Lunar Orbiter II. It is the western most of the Set C Mission I sites.

Apollo Landing Site Ellipse II-P-8

Ellipse II-P-8, located in Sinus Medii near the center of the moon. The center coordinates for the ellipse are 0 degrees 25 minutes north longitude and 1 degree 20 minutes west latitude. It was the eighth primary site photographed by Lunar Orbiter II. Surveyor VI landed approximately five kilometers to the northwest from the center of the ellipse.

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