The Lunascan Project Moon Shot Series
February 20, 1965

Cropped Lunar Orbiter image
Full LO4-85H1


"...... Ranger 8 cruised in a shallow trajectory over the highlands, taking ever improving pictures until its crash in Mare Tranquillitatis less than 70 km from where Tranquillity Base would be established less than four and a half years later. To reach its target (24.80 E, 2.60 N), Ranger 8 slid "sideways" across many tens of degrees of longitude from the Ranger vertical approach zone in the west - to such an extent that the last pictures did not nest and the very last pictures were smeared. The best resolution was 1.5 m, as compared with the 0.6 m achieved by Ranger 7. This left the job of finding the impact point to computation and later scrutinizes of high resolution Apollo 16 photographs.

"Lunar impact occurred at night by Pacific Coast time (1:57 A.M., PST; 0957 GMT), and I had the pleasure of watching for it with my beloved 36-inch telescope at Lick Observatory. Even reasonable people still thought that small impacts might throw up enough dust or create enough of a flash to be visible through a large telescope. Here was a cheap way to learn something about the surficial material of the Moon. Attempts had been made to photograph the nearby Ranger 6 impact with a movie camera, but nothing was seen. "  - Don E. Wilhelms, To A Rocky Moon

Southern portion of Section 35
Ranger 8 crashed after taking  over 7,000 photos. The spacecraft reached the Moon on 20 February 1965. The first image was taken at 9:34:32 UT at an altitude of 2510 km. Transmission of 7,137 photographs of good quality occurred over the final 23 minutes of flight. The final image taken before impact has a resolution of 1.5 meters. After 64.9 hours of flight, impact occurred at 09:57:36.756 UT on 20 February 1965 in Mare Tranquillitatis at approximately 2.67 degrees N, 24.65 degrees E. (The impact site is listed as about 2.72 N, 24.61 E in the initial report "Ranger 8 Photographs of the Moon".)

Other Lunar Orbiter Views
None available

For the latest information and images regarding the area were this
spacecraft landed, go to:
 Section Directory 35

Ranger 8 Spacecraft Images:
 (smaller image)
 Full resolution 483k, Ranger 8 a001.gif
First full frame image of the Moon taken by the Ranger 8 camera A from a distance of 2,573 km. The image was taken on 20 Feb. 1965 at 09:34 UT with the spacecraft at an altitude of 2510 km. The central reticle is at 10.65 degrees south latitude, 22.4 degrees west longitude, in the Mare Cognitum area of the Moon. North is up, and the picture extends 1200 km across, from about 5 N to 30 S latitude, and from 5 W to 45 W longitude. The craters Campanus and Mercator are visible at the bottom center. Gassandi crater (101 km diameter) is the bright circle near the edge of the frame at 8:00. The Apollo 12 landing site is near top center and Apollo 14 slightly to the right of that.

(smaller image)
 Full resolution 511k, Ranger 8_a030.gif
Ranger 8 image of the Moon from 302 km. The image was taken on 20 February 1965 and 9:55 UT, two and a half minutes before the spacecraft impacted on the lunar surface. The two large craters at upper center are Ritter (above left) and Sabine, each about 30 km in diameter. The Apollo 11 landing site is just off the right edge of the image at about 4:00. The image is about 130 km across and north is up.

(smaller image)
 Full resolution 511k, Ranger 8_a060.gif
Last image taken by Ranger 8 camera-A from a distance of 4.2 km, 2 seconds before impact on 20 February 1965. The area shown is at 2.7 N, 24.55 E and the image is about 1.4 km across. The right side of the image is missing because Ranger 8 crashed before completing transmission. This area is about 60 km from the Apollo 11 landing site in the Sea of Tranquillity. These Ranger close-ups showed for the first time that even areas on the Moon which looked smooth from Earth were peppered with small impact craters. North is up.

(smaller image)
Full resolution 514k, Ranger 8_b001.gif
The first image taken by the Ranger 8 camera B on 20 February 1965 shows the 164 km diameter Ptolemaeus crater, top center, and below it Alphonsus crater (diameter 108 km). The Davy crater chain can be seen immediately to the right of the left middle reticle mark as a dotted white line extending SWW to NEE. The picture was taken 23 minutes before impact from a range of 2545 km. The image is about 360 km across and north is up. Ranger 8 was the second successful lunar impact  mission in the series. (Ranger 8, B001)

 (smaller image)
 Full resolution 540k, Ranger 8_b090.gif
Ranger 8 camera B image of the Moon about 5 seconds before impact. Ranger 8 impact took place on 20 February 1965 at 9:57:37 UT. This picture was taken from a distance of 11 km. The area is in the Sea of Tranquillity about 2 degrees north of the Apollo 11 landing site. The frame is about 2 km across and north is up. Features as small as 4 meters across can be seen.

 (smaller image)
 Full resolution 431k,  Ranger 8_p001.gif
These four images were the first taken by the Ranger 8 P-series cameras. The images are ordered (clockwise from upper left) P3, P4, P2, P1. The P3 and P4 cameras had 6.3 degree fields of view (~135 km across) and show 164 diameter Ptolemaeus crater to the right and the Davy crater chain, a white line running SWW to NEE at left middle in P3 and lower left in P4. The P1 and P2 cameras had 2.1 degree fields of view (45 km across). P1 shows a close-up of the crater Davy Y at the upper right. Image P2 shows the area just east of P1. North is up.

 (smaller image)
 Full resolution 438k, Ranger 8_p010.gif
Four Ranger 8 Camera P images taken on  20 February 1965 from a distance of 20 km to about  9 seconds before impact on the Moon. The images are ordered (clockwise from upper left) P3, P4, P2, P1. The images were taken in a part of the Sea of Tranquillity about 60 km north of the Apollo 11 landing site. This area looked smooth in Earth based telescopes, but as the images show it is dotted with craters. The P3 and P4 images are about 2.4 km across, showing objects as small as 15 m across. The P1 and P2 images are 800 m across and show 5 m features. North is up in all images.

 (smaller image)
 Full resolution 486k, Ranger 8_p020.gif
Final pictures taken by the Ranger 8 P-camera about 1/2 second before impact. Impact occurred on 20 February 1965 at 9:57:36.256 UT. The images are ordered (clockwise from upper left) P3, P4, P2, P1. Impact occurred before transmission of the image P4 was complete, hence the static over most of the image. The areas shown are in Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquillity) about 60 km north of the Apollo 11 landing site. Image P3 was taken 0.489 seconds before impact, from a distance of 1.09 km. The image is about 140 meters across. Image P1 was taken 0.689 seconds before impact from 1.52 km and is 60 meters across. Image P2 was taken 0.289 seconds prior to impact from 640 meters. The frame is 30 meters across. North is up on all images.

Relevant Sites
NSSDC Master Image Catalog: Spacecraft  Ranger 8
Ranger 8 - The Spacecraft

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