The Surveyor, the United States Space Agency said Tuesday, is headed on course toward the Moon.
The Surveyor, the United States Space Agency said Tuesday, is headed on course toward the Moon. The space-craft, which is designed to send back pictures of the surface of the Moon, is scheduled to soft land on its target early Thursday morning. (June 2)
The Surveyor carries a television camera to return pictures from the Moon. Other instruments will report the spacecraft's conditions as it lands and will give information about the hardness of the moon's surface. Small rocket engines are also carried to stabilize and slow the space-craft as it approaches the moon. There is a solar panel which generates power from the sun.
One of the Surveyor's low gain antennae has apparently failed to deploy properly as it heads for the moon. The malfunction is not expected to interfere seriously with the mission. There are two of the low gain antennae, which look like poles projecting from each side of the spacecraft.
Once landed on the moon, scientists plan to use the low gain antennae to transmit a low resolution (200 lines) television picture. If that is successful, the craft's high gain antennae will be deployed and a high resolution (600 line) picture will be transmitted. This latter will begin with the on board camera looking along one of the Surveyor's three legs. Then it will pan up to the horizon, pan across the horizon and pan down to another leg of the craft. The high resolution pictures will be transmitted by the antennae atop the spacecraft, which resembles two flat panels forming a shallow V shape.
The various scenes of the Surveyor in this film were made during recent soft-landing tests in a western United States desert.
The Surveyor, successfully launched from Cape Kennedy on Monday, is now controlled by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of Pasadena, California, the designer of the space-craft. Pictures from the moon will be received by the laboratory' big tracking antenna at Goldstone, California in the Mojave desert.