GRAIL's twin spacecraft studied the internal structure and composition of the Moon in unprecedented detail for nine months and produced a detailed gravitational map of the Moon.
- September 20, 2011
The main objective of NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite was to confirm the presence or absence of water ice in a permanently shadowed crater. The LCROSS shepherding spacecraft and the Atlas V’s Centaur upper stage rocket executed a fly-by of the moon on June 23, 2009 and entered
- June 18, 2009
Chandrayaan 1 is an Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) mission designed to orbit the Moon over a two year period with the objectives of upgrading and testing India's technological capabilities in space and returning scientific information on the lunar surface.
- October 22, 2008
The goal of the Chang'e 1 mission was to prove basic technologies, test out several engineering systems and "create a 3D map of the lunar surface, to analyze the distribution of certain chemicals on the lunar surface, to survey the thickness of the lunar soil, to estimate helium 3 resources,
- October 24, 2007
The SELENE-Kaguya mission was designed to create a detailed topographical model of the Moon. The mission carried two small satellites: Okina and Ouna, which mean “honorable elderly man” and “honorable elderly woman,” respectively.
- September 14, 2007
NASA's ARTEMIS mission (Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of the Moon's Interaction with the Sun) is made up of two probes: P1 and P2. They were originally part of the successful THEMIS mission that orbited Earth and studied the aurora. NASA redirected the two probes to the Moon.
- February 17, 2007
ARTEMIS is the first mission to orbit the Moon's Lagrangian points—points on either side of the Moon where the Moon and Earth's gravity balance perfectly.
- February 17, 2007
SMART, which stands for Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology was a techonology test of new solar-electric propulsion, communication techniques and miniataurized science instruments.
- September 27, 2003
NASA's Lunar Prospector orbited the Moon for almost 19 months to map its surface composition and to look for polar ice. The probe found evidence suggesting water ice at both poles.
- January 7, 1998
Hiten (originally called Muses-A) was an ISAS (Japanese Space Agency) Earth orbiting satellite designed primarily to test and verify technologies for future lunar and planetary missions.
- January 24, 1990
Luna 24 was the third Soviet attempt to land at the site of a large mass concentration on the Moon, obtain a soil sample down to about 6.6 feet (2 meters) beneath the lunar surface, and return it to Earth.
- August 9, 1976
Luna 23 was to drill 2.5 meters below the lunar surface (compared to the 0.3-m depth of the cores sampled by Luna 16 and 20) and return a sample of the soil to Earth.
- October 28, 1974
In addition to its primary mission of surface photography, Luna 22 also performed investigations to determine the chemical composition of the lunar surface, recorded meteoroid activity, searched for a lunar magnetic field, measured solar and cosmic radiation flux, and continued studies of the irregular magnetic field.
- May 29, 1974
The Radio Astronomy Explorer B (RAE-B) mission was the second of a pair of RAE satellites. It was placed into lunar orbit to provide radio astronomical measurements of the planets, the sun, and the galaxy over the frequency range of 25 kHz to 13.1 MHz.
- June 10, 1973
Luna 21's mission was to deliver the rover Lunokhod 2 to the Moon. The lander carried a bas relief of Lenin and the Soviet coat-of-arms. Richard Garriott purchased both the Luna 21 lander and the Lunakhod 2 rover from the Soviet Union.
- January 8, 1973
Scientific objectives of the Apollo 17 mission included, geological surveying and sampling of materials and surface features in a preselected area of the Taurus-Littrow region; deploying and activating surface experiments; and conducting in-flight experiments and photographic tasks during lunar orbit and transearth coast.
- December 7, 1972
Command Module Pilot Ken Mattingly orbited the Moon while astronauts John Young and Charlie Duke were on its surface. Apollo 16's landing spot was chosen in order to gather geologically older lunar material. Charlie Duke left a picture of his family on the site.
- April 16, 1972
Luna 20 was to conduct the mission that Luna 18 was unable to complete: obtain a soil sample from the lunar highlands and bring it to Earth for comparison with Luna 16's sample from a site that was thought to be geologically different.
- February 14, 1972
Luna 19 was to orbit the Moon, collecting data about the Moon and its environment.
- September 28, 1971
The goals of Luna 18 was to collect lunar samples and bring them back to Earth.
- September 2, 1971
Apollo 15 was the first of the Apollo "J" missions capable of a longer stay time on the moon and greater surface mobility. There were four primary objectives falling in the general categories of lunar surface science, lunar orbital science and engineering-operational.
- July 26, 1971
The primary objectives of this mission were to explore the Fra Mauro region centered around deployment of the Apollo Lunar Surface Scientific Experiments Package, or ALSEP; lunar field geology investigations; collection of surface material samples for return to Earth.
- January 31, 1971
Luna 17 was designed to deliver a robotic rover called "Lunokhod 1" to the lunar surface. The rover was to travel to various locations under the real-time control of operators on Earth and conduct tests on the lunar soil for 3 lunar days (about 3 Earth months).
- November 10, 1970
The mission of Luna 16 was to drill out a sample core from the Moon's surface and return it to Earth. Luna 16 was the first robotic probe to land on the Moon and return a sample to Earth. It returned 101 grams.
- September 12, 1970
The Apollo 13 lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank in the service module failed two days into the mission. The story of Apollo 13 is an enduring tale of survival, perseverance and innovation in the face of emergency.
- April 11, 1970
The primary mission objectives of the second crewed lunar landing included an extensive series of lunar exploration tasks by the lunar module, or LM, crew, as well as the deployment of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package, or ALSEP, which was to be left on the moon's surface to gather
- November 14, 1969
The primary objective of Apollo 11 was to complete a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961: perform a crewed lunar landing and return to Earth.
- July 16, 1969
Luna 15 was the second attempt by the Soviet Union to recover and return lunar soil back to Earth. Launched just three days before the Apollo 11 mission, Luna 15 raced to beat the crew to the Moon. In a race to reach the Moon and return to Earth, the
- July 13, 1969
The Apollo 10 mission encompassed all aspects of an actual crewed lunar landing, except the landing. It was the first to operate around the Moon. Objectives included a scheduled eight-hour lunar orbit of the separated lunar module, or LM, and descent to about nine miles off the Moon's surface before
- May 18, 1969
The primary goal of Luna 14 was to test communication systems in support of future lunar landing projects. Provided data for studies of the interaction of the Earth and lunar masses, the lunar gravitational field and the motion of the Moon.
- April 7, 1968
The mission of Surveyor 7 was to explore a region of the Moon other than lunar maria and into the lunar highlands. Surveyor 7 was the first probe to detecet the faint glow on the lunar horizon after dark that is now thought to be light reflected from electrostatically levitated
- January 7, 1968
The mission of Surveyor 6 was to demonstrate the technology necessary to achieve landing and operations on the lunar surface. Before termination of operations, on Nov. 17, 1967, Surveyor 6 was commanded to fire its three main liquid propellant thrusters for 2.5 seconds.
- November 7, 1967
The mission of Surveyor 5 was to demonstrate the technology necessary to achieve landing and operations on the lunar surface. Surveyor 5 was the first human spacecraft to complete a soil analysis on another celestial boday other than Earth.
- September 8, 1967
Lunar Orbiter 5 completed the farside coverage and acquired medium (20 m) and high (2 m) resolution images of 36 pre-selected areas. Luna Orbiter 5's primary mission was to contribute to a comprehensive map of the Moon and conduct general observational surveys.
- August 1, 1967
Explorer 35, also known as the Anchored Interplanetary Monitoring Platform (AIMP-E or AIMP-6) was designed to study interplanetary space phenomena, particularly the solar wind, the interplanetary magnetic field, dust distribution near the Moon, the lunar gravitational field, the weak lunar ionosphere, and the radiation environment.
- July 19, 1967
The mission of Surveyor 4 was to demonstrate the technology necessary to achieve landing and operations on the lunar surface. Radio signals from the spacecraft stopped a few minutes before landing and contact was never reestablished.
- July 14, 1967
Lunar Orbiter 4 photographed the entire nearside and 95% of the farside, and Lunar Orbiter 5 completed the farside coverage and acquired medium (20 m) and high (2 m) resolution images of 36 pre-selected areas Lunar Orbiter 4's primary mission was to contribute to a comprehensive map of the
- May 4, 1967
Surveyor 3 was designed to achieve a soft landing on the lunar surface and to return lunar surface photography and other data. Astronauts from Apollo 12 made contact with Surveyor 3 and recovered parts to return to Earth so that scientists could evaluate the effects of nearly two-and-a-half years of
- April 17, 1967
Lunar Orbiter 3's primary mission was to photograph smooth areas of the lunar surface to help select safe landing sites for the Apollo missions. The spacecraft's mission was site confirmation as opposed to site search.
- February 5, 1967
The mission of Luna 13 was to land on the Moon and characterize the lunar surface. The Luna 13 spacecraft was launched toward the Moon from an earth-orbiting platform and accomplished a soft landing on December 24, 1966, in the region of Oceanus Procellarum.
- December 21, 1966
Lunar Orbiter 2's primary mission was to photograph smooth areas of the lunar surface to help select safe landing sites for the Apollo missions. The spacecraft took photos covering nearly 1.6 millions square miles of the Moon's surface.
- November 6, 1966
Luna 12 was launched to complete the mission that Luna 11 failed to accomplish: to take high resolution photos of the Moon from lunar orbit. First high resolution of the Moon taken from lunar orbit.
- October 22, 1966
Luna 11 was designed to take the first photographs of the surface of the Moon from lunar orbit. A secondary objective was to obtain data on gravitational anamolies on the Moon.
- August 24, 1966
The Lunar Orbiter 1 mission was designed primarily to photograph smooth areas of the lunar surface for selection of safe landing sites for the Apollo missions.
- August 10, 1966
The mission of Surveyor 1 was to demonstrate the technology necessary to achieve landing and operations on the lunar surface. Surveyor 1 collected information about the lunar surface that informed the planning for the Apollo crewed lunar landings.
- May 30, 1966
The primary objective of Luna 10 was to achieve first lunar orbit, gain experience in orbital operations and study the lunar environment. First spacecraft to orbit the Moon and first human-made object to ever sucessfully orbit around another celestial body.
- March 31, 1966
Luna 9 was intended to, and did, achieve the first soft landing on the Moon. The lander proved spacecraft would not simply sink into lunar dust, a finding that paved the way for future Moon landings, including the Apollo missions.
- January 31, 1966
This, the tenth Soviet attempt to achieve a lunar soft-landing, nearly succeeded. The Blok L upper stage successfully dispatched the probe towards the Moon. After a successful mid-course correction at 19:00 UT on Dec. 4, 1965, the spacecraft headed towards its targeted landing site on the Moon without any apparent
- December 3, 1965
Luna 7 was intended to achieve the first soft landing on the Moon. Intended to be the first soft landing on the Moon, the spacecraft's retrorockets were unable to fire due to a loss of attitude control and the spacecraft made a hard impact on the lunar surface.
- October 4, 1965
Luna 5 was an unmanned Soviet spacecraft intended to land on the Moon as part of the Luna programme. It was intended to become the first spacecraft to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, however its retrorockets failed, and the spacecraft impacted the lunar surface.
- May 9, 1965
Ranger 9 was the last of the Ranger series of spacecraft launched in the 1960s to explore the moon and was designed to image and impact the moon's crater Alphonsus, which was thought to be the site of recent lunar volcanic activity.
- March 21, 1965
The mission of Ranger 8 was to take high-resolution photographs of the Moon before impacting the lunar surface. Ranger 8 impacted the Moon about 15 miles (24 kilometers) from its target in the Sea of Tranquility, the area where Apollo 11 landed July 20, 1969, bringing the first humans to
- February 17, 1965
The mission of Ranger 7 was to take high-resolution photographs of the Moon before impacting the lunar surface. The images taken by Ranger 7 helped scientists conclude the Apollo astronauts could safely land in the smooth mare regions (the "seas") of the Moon.
- July 28, 1964
Ranger 6 was principally designed to transmit high-resolution photographs of the Moon before impacting the lunar surface. The spacecraft carried six television videocon cameras, however, due to a failure of the camera system, no images were returned.
- January 30, 1964
Ranger 4 was designed to transmit pictures of the lunar surface to Earth stations during a period of ten minutes prior to impacting on the Moon.
- April 23, 1962
Luna 2, also known as Lunik 2 or the Second Cosmos Rocket, was the second of a series of spacecraft launched in the direction of the Moon. The mission achieved the first spacecraft to land on the Moon. Luna 2 impacted the lunar surface east of Mare Serenitatis near the
- September 12, 1959