On this day in history, in 1964:
Ranger 7 Successfully Took Detailed Photos of the Moon
Ranger 7, an unmanned U.S. lunar probe, took the first close-up pictures of the moon– 4,308 total– prior to falling to the lunar surface. The images it sent were 1,000 times as clear as anything ever before seen through earth-bound telescopes.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had actually tried a comparable goal previously with Ranger 6. But the probe’s cameras failed, and it fell to the lunar surface. Ranger 7, released from Earth on July 28, efficiently activated its electronic cameras 17 mins, or 1,300 miles, prior to impact. It also beamed the images back to NASA’s receiving terminal in California. The images revealed that the lunar surface was not as dusty as they expected and was not too treacherous for a prospective spacecraft landing. This gave encouragement to the NASA plan to send astronauts to the moon five years later.