Geek Trivia

Which Space Probe First Successfully Transmitted Photos Of The Lunar Surface?

Mariner 10
Ranger 7
Lunar 16
Prior To The Early 19th Century, You Wouldn't Experience What On Christmas?

Answer: Ranger 7

These days, with advanced technology like the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter platform, we take high-resolution photographs and breathtaking video of the Moon for granted. A little over half a century ago, however, we still hadn’t managed to get an intimate and up-close photograph of the Moon. All that changed in the 1960s.

In July of 1964 NASA launched Ranger 7 aboard an Atlas-Agena B rocket. Ranger 7 was a lunar probe with a singular mission, and for the next three days it went rocketing through space towards the moon, waiting to spring into action. As Ranger 7 neared the moon on July 31, 1964 the bevy of still and video cameras on board set to work capturing and transmitting images back to Earth, relaying images up until the moment of impact.

Ranger 7 was followed by Ranger 8 and Ranger 9. The total cache of images from the three successful probe missions provided 17,000 photographs with a resolution and clarity previous unseen.