This is Surveyor 3 as it appeared 2-1/2 years ago at Cape Kennedy during final preparations for launching to the moon April 16, 1967.
Surveyor 3 undergoes final checkout at Cape Kennedy prior to launch to the moon April 16, 1967
Medium shot of aluminum covered fuel tank; closeup of lunar digging claw; testing of digger; technician cleaning TV camera mirror.
Animation of Surveyor 3 approaching moon
Lunar film showing digger at work moon shots of rocks in vicinity of Surveyor 3 landing site
Surveyor photos of rocks in vicinity of landing site
Animation of Surveyor 3 shown in crater...in background is the Intrepid
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Background: This is Surveyor 3 as it appeared 2-1/2 years ago at Cape Kennedy during final preparations for launching to the moon April 16, 1967.
Next week (Nov. 19) Apollo astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean hope to land in the moon's Ocean of Storms near enough to the spacecraft to walk to it and retrieve the spacecraft's TV camera and several other components for return to Earth.
Retrieval of the camera, glass insulation mirrors, and a section of polished aluminum tubing will provide scientists with invaluable data on the time effect of the lunar environment on equipment and materials.
The one-ton spacecraft, built by Hughes Aircraft Company for NASA to explore lunar landing sites for Apollo, was launched by and Atlas-Centaur booster.
Sixty-six hours later the spacecraft approached the moon and softly landed on the eastern edge of the Ocean of Storms. The spacecraft landed on a 12-degree slope about 150 feet in from the rim of a crater 600 feet in diameter.
Once on the moon the spacecraft began a TV survey of its landing site, then focused the camera on the robot digging tool which carved a series of trenches in the lunar soil.
The digger carved four trenches, made seven bearing tests and 14 penetrations of the soil to determine the hardness of the lunar surface.
When those tasks were completed, Surveyor 3 turned the TV camera on the nearby surroundings and photographed rocks and the distant horizon. During the first lunar day of operation, from April 19 through May 3, the spacecraft transmitted more than 6,300 lunar photos to Earth. Efforts to revive the spacecraft two weeks later at the end of the lunar night were unsuccessful.
Hughes Aircraft scientists recommended to NASA a "retrieval" plan. It suggests which parts of Surveyor the astronauts could bring home for study to increase Man's knowledge of what happens to electronics and materials after long exposure to the moon's hostile environment. This knowledge could prove of major importance in selecting materials and components for future missions -- either to the moon or outer planets.