Surveyor soft-lander Moon probe, 1966-1967.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Model (scale 1:6). The Surveyor programme was one of three precursor unmanned lunar exploration programmes designed to pave the way for the Apollo manned Moon landings. Surveyor 3, launched on 17 April 1967, landed in the Ocean of Storms on the Moon and made the first excavation of the lunar surface using an on-board scoop. During the time in which the probe remained operational, Surveyor 3 analysed the surface material to a depth of 17.5 cm, and took over 6000 pictures. In November 1969, Apollo 12 landed near to Surveyor 3's landing site and the crew investigated the condition of the probe, returning some of its components to Earth for analysis. Evidence of small craters, probably caused by impacts of micrometeorites was found.