Surveyor 1 is the first lunar probe of the American Surveyor program, designed to explore the Moon. The program was managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, using engines designed and built by Hughes Aircraft. It was launched on May 30,1966 and successfully landed on June 2 of the same year on the Storm Ocean. This is the first lunar landing by the United States, 4 months after the Soviet Luna 9 probe with significantly more limited technical and scientific characteristics. The space probe provides valuable information on the consistency of the lunar soil, which made it possible to prepare the first landing of man on the Moon. The probe transmits a total of 11,237 images to Earth.
To land men on the moon as part of the Apollo program, NASA needed to know the consistency of the lunar soil. At the time of probe launch, it was not known whether the dusty soil would be able to support the weight of the Apollo lunar module and how many feet and the size of the soles they would be equipped with. Under pessimistic assumptions, the moon probe would be swallowed up by the moon dust.
More than 10,000 images were taken by Surveyor 1 before the moonset on June 14,1966, including narrow angle panoramas, photometric studies, special area surveys and celestial photographs. The probe responded to the camera activation command on July 7 and, until July 14,1966, sent another 1,000 frames.
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