Surveyor VI

Basic Information

  • First Launch: November 7, 1967, 07:39:00 UTC
  • Landed: November 10, 1967, 01:01:06 UTC
  • Second Launch: November 17, 1967, 10:32 UTC
  • Landed: November 17, 1967
  • Last Contact: December 14, 1967

Surveyor VI landed in Sinus Medii, essentially in the center of the Moon's visible hemisphere, the last of four potential Apollo landing area   designated for investigation by the Surveyor program.

The   performance   of   Surveyor   VI   on   the lunar surface   was     virtually   flawless.   From touchdown until a few hours after sunset on November 24, 1967, the spacecraft transmitted 29,952    television    pictures   and    the    alpha scattering instrument acquired 30 hours of data on   the   chemical   composition    of    the   lunar material.  On November 17, 1967, the vernier rocket engines of Surveyor VI were fired for 2.5 seconds and the spacecraft lifted off the lunar surface and translated laterally about 8 feet to a new location , the  first such  known excursion  on  the Moon. This “lunar hop” provided excellent views of the surface disturbances produced by the initial landing and furnished significant new information on the effects of firing rocket engines close to the lunar surface. The displacement provided a baseline for stereoscopic viewing and photogrammetric mapping of the surrounding terrain and surface features.

Other  data  provided  by Surveyor VI included pictures of a bar magnet  installed on a footpad to   determine   the   concentration   of  magnetic material in  the lunar   surface; views of  the stars, Earth, and  the solar corona ; lunar-surface temperatures  up   to  41  hours   after  sunset;  radar reflectivity   data   during  landing;   touchdown ­ dynamics  data  during  the  initial  landing  and the lunar  hop  which  provided  additional  information   on   the  mechanical   properties   of   the lunar  surface material;  and  on-surface  doppler tracking  data  for  refining  existing  information on  the mot ions  of  the Moon.

On   November 26, 1967, Surveyor VI was placed in hibernation for the 2-week lunar night. Contact  with  the spacecraft was resumed for a short period on December 14, 1967.The   successful  accomplishment  of   the  Surveyor VI mission not only satisfied  all Surveyor obligations  to  Apollo,  but  completed  the scientific investigation of four widely separated mare regions  in  the  Moon's  equatorial  belt,  spaced roughly  uniformly  across  a longitude  range be­ tween  43° W and  23° E, from  which important generalizations regarding  the lunar  maria have been derived.

Source: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera
LROC NAC image M117501284L
Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University 

Surveyor 6
LROC NAC image M152885739L
Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University