(The following information appears on page 94 of "NASA, The First 25 Years 1958-1983: A Resource for Teachers: A curriculum project" published by NASA, 1983.)


Following the Ranger hard landings, from 1966 to 1968, the Surveyor series was conducted to soft land unmanned spacecraft on the Moon, survey it with TV cameras, and analyze the chemical composition of the lunar surface.

Five of the seven Surveyors were successful. They operated on the lunar surface over a combined time of 17 months, transmitted more than 17,000 pictures, and made analyses of surface and subsurface samples.

Surveyor 1

May 30-June 2, 1966

Successful soft landing in Ocean of Storms; 11,237 pictures returned; found that the surface is firm and capable of supporting machines and astronauts.

Surveyor 3

April 17-20, 1967

Landed in the Sea of Clouds and returned 6,315 pictures; first soil scoop; piece of the spacecraft brought back by Apollo 14.

Surveyor 5

September 8-10, 1967

Soft landing in the Sea of Tranquillity; returned over 19,000 pictures; first alpha scatter instrument analyzed chemical composition and found that the surface of the maria resembles that of terrestrial basalt lava.

Surveyor 6

November 7-10, 1967

Soft landing in the Central Bay region; returned 30,065 pictures; first lift-off from lunar surface moved it ten feet to new location.

Surveyor 7

January 7-10, 1968

Successful soft landing on ejecta blanket adjacent to Crater Tycho; first combination of the three major experiments: TV, alpha scatter, and surface sampler; found that the highlands composition differs from that of the maria and is aluminum-rich.