Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tonight's Sky for February 17: Ranger 8 Launched (1965)

It was on this date in 1965 that NASA launched its Ranger 8 Moon probe, which was designed, along with its fellow Rangers, to photograph as much of the lunar surface as possible in order to locate possible landing sites for the then-future Apollo program. In all, Ranger 8 would transmit 7,137 photos of the lunar surface until it impacted the Moon. The last picture had a resolution of 1.5 meters and the crater created by the probe's impact was estimated to be around 40 feet in diameter after it was photographed by a later probe: Lunar Orbiter 4.

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