Missing Probe Found on the Moon

Missing Probe Found on the Moon

image

NASA believes it has discovered the wreckage of the famous space probe, the Lunar Orbiter 2, on the surface of the Moon.

On the 24th of November, 1966, suspended 28.4 miles above the surface of the Moon, the Lunar Orbiter 2 took a photograph of the Copernicus crater. The photo was one of twelve "housekeeping" shots intended only to use up the last of a roll of film; the interplanetary equivalent of taking a picture of the hotel toilet while you're on holiday. It was one of the first photographs to show the Moon not as a distant gray mass dotted with holes, but as a very real landscape, and it went on to be called "The Picture of the Century," by the press at the time. After taking the picture and (kind of) completing its mission to map out potential Lunar landing sites for the Apollo missions, the Orbiter 2 was commanded to crash land on the far side of the Moon. Its wreckage has never been found, up till now at least.

The boffins at NASA believe that the photograph in the corner there, taken by another Lunar Probe, this one designed to map out landing and solar power sites for the now defunct Moonbase program, shows the Lunar Orbiter 2's final resting place. The distinctive "butterfly"-shape of the crater itself, which is indicative of a low-angle of impact, and fact the crater is exactly where NASA predicted the probe would come down certainly adds some credence to that belief.

The "photograph of the century" was the Lunar Orbiter 2's biggest success. Its mission to map out potential landing sites, not so much. While the photographs, taken via clunky 1960's technology, were impressive for the time, they weren't of a high enough resolution to highlight potential hazards to the landing craft, a problem that very nearly resulted in disaster during the first Lunar landing attempt. At a height of 400 feet the Apollo 11 Lunar module's autopilot, acting on information from the Orbiter 2, attempted to land the craft in the middle of a field of huge-ass boulders, forcing famous astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to pull some hairy "leaf on the wind" style maneuvers to prevent a crash landing.

Successful in its original mission or not, NASA scientists are still keen to get a better look at the Orbiter 2's wreckage and are repositioning their current Lunar probe for a clearer shot of the potential crash site.

Source: The Register

Permalink

Is this supposed to be a surprise? They told it to crash on the moon, it crashed on the moon. Done and done.

TimeLord:
Is this supposed to be a surprise? They told it to crash on the moon, it crashed on the moon. Done and done.

It indeed sounds that way.

I guess it's a first for NASA that something actually happens the way it should.

EDIT: judging by the recency of your joining the newsroom I think this is your first "real" news article? If so: are we allowed to haze (flame) the rookie? =)

"Missing Probe Found on the Moon"

+

"The distinctive "butterfly"-shape of the crater itself, which is indicative of a low-angle of impact, and fact the crater is exactly where NASA predicted the probe would come down certainly adds some credence to that belief."

Umm....what? I'm not sure I follow ^~^;.

The title of this article does make me laugh. Where the hell did they think it'd be, France?

The Decepticons must've knocked it away from its expected place on their way to retrieve the Space Bridge from the Ark.

It only took them 45 years to find out where it crashed. Oh what's that? Right where you told it to?! SHOCKING!

but they ditched it! so what if they found it again? guess what! i just found a banana peel i threw away last week! whoopdedoodledo

So, it took 45 years for some of the most brilliant scientific people in this country to find something on the moon. And they generally knew where it was before searching for it.

Out-freaking-standing.

Goes to show you our money is being spent wisely.

Wouldn't that be the first place you look? Y'know the spot where you told it to crash? Were they just not confident enough in their calculations..? What?

Wow, either you people didn't bother to read the article or you're just being ignorant for the hell of it. This thing crashed on the dark side of the moon, yes the one you never see. And since there haven't been probes to that part of the moon since the 70s, it's pretty easy to understand why it has never been found before.

This is sad because the only space news we have nowadays is about a satellite that crashed where it was supposed to crash 10+ years ago. And that's all we'll get until those commercial companies manage to do..... whatever it is they plan to do.

This kind of thing saddens me... I'm talking about this missed opportunity for that headline, after so many years and they found out it was just there, on the Moon! Next time at least miss it near a farther astronomical object, like Pluto, Neptune or Uranus... Now. That would be a headline!

I hate it when you find a probe just sitting in a crater doing nothing. Get back to mining!

Has it been too long since the last major discovery in space? Do we have to discover stuff we put up there just to keep things interesting?

I'm more interested in that Probe that was sent to Mars and disappeared.

I remember my teacher in like 3rd or 4th grade talking about it and reading updates about it to the class and then bam the thing disappears around the ice cap.

What happened to that probe I wonder?

Also what was its name, because I forgot what it was called but I do know that it's mission was to like take pictures of the Mars Ice cap I believe. I'm not really sure this was in elementary school and I graduated from high school this year so I'm a little fuzzy on the details of it.

One thing NASA has been consistently good on is their mathematics abilities. Somewhere in their archives rests the answer to how many angels can sit on the head of a pin*. Now if they can just get better with their mechanical abilities.
I have to laugh at the part where the probe could get pictures that would get in National Geographic and yet not do the job it was meant to.
"Good job, Bubba. Your painting job got you a grant from the Smithsonian. But I have to fire you now because you painted everything but the wall you were supposed to just paint white."

sunburst313:
I hate it when you find a probe just sitting in a crater doing nothing. Get back to mining!

Can I sing the diggy-hole song?

*:Too mind-blowing to share with the general public, assuredly.

Crazy_Man_42:
I'm more interested in that Probe that was sent to Mars and disappeared.

I remember my teacher in like 3rd or 4th grade talking about it and reading updates about it to the class and then bam the thing disappears around the ice cap.

What happened to that probe I wonder?

Also what was its name, because I forgot what it was called but I do know that it's mission was to like take pictures of the Mars Ice cap I believe. I'm not really sure this was in elementary school and I graduated from high school this year so I'm a little fuzzy on the details of it.

If it is the same probe I am thinking of, I think the strongest line of thought is it just burned up in the martian atmosphere. So most of it is probably swirling around in a martian duststorm right now.

captcha: ilovedu object. Sorry captcha, my feelings are not reciprocal.

CrazyCapnMorgan:
So, it took 45 years for some of the most brilliant scientific people in this country to find something on the moon. And they generally knew where it was before searching for it.

Out-freaking-standing.

Goes to show you our money is being spent wisely.

You've never lost your car in a car park?

Radelaide:

CrazyCapnMorgan:
So, it took 45 years for some of the most brilliant scientific people in this country to find something on the moon. And they generally knew where it was before searching for it.

Out-freaking-standing.

Goes to show you our money is being spent wisely.

You've never lost your car in a car park?

Nope. Reason? I never owned a car. =P

How exactly do you lose something like this? I mean I'm assuming this is some giant craft, or at least something of considerable size. One of its sole purposes is to share information between long distances. How do you lose it? It's like not being able to find an elephant in your house!

Honestly though, it's good to see something like this happen. It's the type of thing that's really fascinating to a nerd like me.

Much love for the Spaaaaaaaaaace tag in the news post XD

Sooo, could this mean NASA is thinking about rebooting the Moonbase program?

THis is not surpising in any way shape or form.
Seriously. It was hardly 'missing.'

And on the famous side of things, never heard of it.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here