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February 15, 2010 - Disposable Camera

Disposable Camera The Ranger program was NASA’s attempt to obtain the first high-resolution images of the lunar surface, and forty-five years ago this week Ranger 8 began its one-way trip to the Moon. The Rangers were designed to impact the Moon, returning images of increasing resolution until impact. Ranger 8 radioed back over 7,000 images in the final twenty-three minutes of flight, and hit the Moon traveling 6,000 miles per hour. In the final Ranger images, objects as small as four feet across could be resolved. This image of the Moon’s Mare Nubium region was obtained in 2009 by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA’s new lunar mapping spacecraft. Objects as small as ten feet across can be discerned, but images taken later in the mission will resolve twice the detail as the one-shot Rangers.

Image credit: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center / Arizona State University

Weekly Calendar

February 15-21, 2010

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 15

Presidents’ Day

1564: Galileo Galilei born
1973: Pioneer 10 becomes first spacecraft to pass through the asteroid belt

Moon phase Tuesday 16

Uranus 6° south of Moon

1948: Gerard Kuiper discovers Miranda, moon of Uranus
1965: Saturn SA-9 launched

Moon phase Wednesday 17

1959: Vanguard 2 launched
1965: Ranger 8 launched
1996: NEAR-Shoemaker spacecraft launched
2007: THEMIS spacecraft launched
2009Dawn spacecraft flies by Mars

Moon phase Thursday 18

Vesta at opposition

1930: Pluto discovered by Clyde Tombaugh
1970: HL-10 sets lifting body speed record
1977: First captive flight of space shuttle Enterprise

Moon phase Friday 19

1473: Nicholas Copernicus born
1986: Mir space station launched

Moon phase Saturday 20

1962: Friendship 7 launched; John Glenn becomes first American to orbit Earth
1965: Ranger 8 impacts the Moon, returns photographs
1994: Clementine enters lunar orbit

Moon phase Sunday 21

First Quarter Moon 7:42 PM ET

1931: Germany's first liquid-fuel rocket launched by VfR flies 10 feet

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.