Return to home4.5Bil BP Our moon formed about
this time when an iron-rich, Mars-sized planet or asteroid plowed
into Earth while it was forming. Much of the iron ended up in the
Earth’s core, whereas the cloud of dust ejected from the impact
consolidated into the moon.
(PacDis, Winter ’97, p.28)(Econ, 2/21/09, p.81)
3.9 Billion BP Meteorites reached Earth after
being ejected from the Moon from the impact of massive unknown
objects at about this time.
(SFC, 12/1/00, p.A21)
160Mil BC A collision likely occurred in the
asteroid belt orbiting the sun about 100 million miles from Earth.
One of these asteroids was later named Baptistina. In 2007 US and
Czech researchers used computer simulations to calculate that there
was a 90 percent probability that the collision of two asteroids,
one about 105 miles wide and one about 40 miles wide, was the event
that precipitated the Earthly disaster of 65Mil BC, when an asteroid
hit the Earth on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. They said another
fragment likely created the Tycho crater on the moon at about 110Mil
(Reuters, 9/5/07)(SFC, 9/6/07, p.A14)(Econ,
1178 Jun 18, 5 Canterbury monks
reported an explosion on moon (only known observation). This is the
proposed time of origin of lunar crater Giordano Bruno.
1609 Aug 25, Galileo
demonstrated his 1st telescope to Venetian lawmakers. Galileo
Galilei had improved the newly invented telescope and pointed it at
(V.D.-H.K.p.200)(Econ, 8/15/09, p.12)
1609 Nov 30, Galileo began
observing the moon with his perspicullum from Padua, Italy.
(CW, Spring ‘99, p.34)
1610 Mar 13, Galileo published
his observations of the night sky under the title “Siderius Nuncius"
(CW, Spring ‘99, p.36)
1835 The New York Sun hired
Richard Adams Locke, a Briton, as editor. He soon wrote an anonymous
series about a new telescope and observations of the moon that
included the mention of vast forests, fields of poppies and lunar
animals. Circulation soared to 19,360. In 840 he admitted to writing
the moon hoax series. In 2008 Matthew Goodman authored “the Sun and
the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling
Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth-Century New York."
(WSJ, 11/7/08, p.A15)
1840 Mar 23, Draper took 1st
successful photo of the Moon (daguerreotype).
1865 Jules Verne published his
book: “From the Earth to the Moon."
(SFEC, 4/19/98, Par p.10)
1892 Chicago businessman
Charles Tyson Yerkes gave $300,000 to fund the wolrd’s largest
telescope. A crater on the moon was later named after him.
(Econ, 12/20/14, p.74)
1919 May 29, An eclipse
occurred that was photographed by two British expeditions, one in
Africa and the other in Brazil. It was found that pictures of the
stars surrounding the sun were slightly shifted in the radial
direction, in complete agreement with the prediction of Einstein’s
General Theory of Relativity. The play “Rose Tattoo" by Tennessee
(Thomas Lanier) Williams was originally titled “The Eclipse of May
(SCTS, p.29)(SFC, 10/12/96, p.E3)
1919 May 29, Arthur Eddington,
a British astronomer, mounted an expedition to Sobral, Brazil, to
watch an eclipse and gather data to verify Einstein's theory of
relativity. Though his results were ambiguous he claimed triumph. In
1980 Harry Colling and Trevor Pinch published "The Golem," an
account of the expedition.
(WSJ, 8/11/99, p.A18)
1930 Aug 5, Neil Armstrong, the
first man to walk on the moon, was born in Ohio.
1934 Aug 24, In Philadelphia,
Pa., Philo T. Farnsworth (28), a San Francisco scientist, produced a
televised picture of the moon, the first recorded use of television
(SSFC, 8/16/09, p.46)
1946 Jan 10, The first manmade
contact with the moon was made as the US Army bounced radar signals
off the lunar surface from Belmar, NJ.
1949 Ralph B. Baldwin (b.1912),
American astronomer, authored “The Face of the Moon," in which he
detailed how the moon’s craters were caused by meteor impacts rather
than volcanic action as previously believed.
1954 Maurice Allais, French
economist, recorded the movement of a pendulum for 30 days during
which the moon eclipsed the sun and caused the pendulum to move a
bit faster. The “Allais effect" confounded physicists and indicated
a possible flaw in General Relativity.
(Econ, 8/21/04, p.65)
1967 Oct 10, The Outer Space
Treaty, which prohibits the placing of weapons of mass destruction
on the moon or elsewhere in space, entered into force.
1958 Mar 27, The U.S. announced
a plan to explore space near the moon.
1958 Aug 17, World's 1st Moon
probe, US's Thor-Able, exploded at T +77 sec.
1958 Oct 11, The lunar probe
Pioneer 1 was launched; it failed to go as far as planned, fell back
to Earth, and burned up in the atmosphere.
1958 Wernher von Braun,
German-born rocket scientist, authored “First Men to the Moon."
1958 Leonard Reiffel began a
classified study on the benefits and effects of a nuclear explosion
on the moon sponsored by a US Air Force special weapons center.
(SFC, 5/16/00, p.A7)
1961 May 25, President Kennedy
summoned a joint session of Congress and asked the nation to work
toward putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In 2011
John Logsdon authored “John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon."
(AP, 5/25/97)(Econ, 5/21/11, p.36)
1962 Jan 26, The United States
launched Ranger 3 to land scientific instruments on the moon, but
the probe missed its target by some 22,000 miles.
1962 Feb 5, Sun, Moon, Mercury,
Venus, Mars, Jupiter & Saturn aligned within a 16 degree arc.
1962 Apr 25, U.S. Ranger
spacecraft crash landed on the Moon.
1962 May 9, A laser beam was
successfully bounced off Moon for the first time.
1964 Jan 30, The United States
launched Ranger 6 from Cape Canaveral. It was an unmanned spacecraft
carrying six television cameras that was to crash-land on the moon.
(AP, 1/30/98)(HN, 1/30/99)
1964 Jul 28, Ranger 7 was
launched toward the Moon. It sent back 4308 TV pictures.
1964 Jul 31, The American space
probe Ranger 7 transmitted pictures of the moon's surface.
1965 Mar 21, The U.S. launched
Ranger 9, last in a series of lunar explorations.
1965 Mar 24, US Ranger 9 struck
the Moon, 10 miles (16 km) NE of crater Alphonsus.
1965 May 1, USSR launched Luna
5; later lands on Moon.
1966 Jan 31, The Soviets
launched Luna 9, the first spacecraft to land softly on the moon.
(HC, 2003, p.64)
1966 Feb 3, The Soviet probe
Luna 9 became the first manmade object to make a soft landing on the
1966 Jun 2, The U.S. space
probe Surveyor 1 landed on the moon in Oceanus Procellarum and began
transmitting detailed photographs of the lunar surface.
(AP, 6/2/97)(SC, 6/2/02)
1966 Sep 20, Nasa's Centaur
upper rocket stage successfully propelled the Surveyor 2 lander to
the moon before it was discarded. The lander ended up crashing into
the moon after one of its thrusters failed to ignite on the way
there. The rocket, meanwhile, swept past the moon and into orbit
around the sun as intended junk. In 2020 it was identified as
asteroid 2020 SO.
1966 Oct 22, The Soviet Union
launched Luna 12 for orbit around the moon.
1966 Dec 24, Soviet research
station Luna 13 soft-landed on the moon.
(HN, 12/24/98)(MC, 12/24/01)
1966 Robert Heinlein
(1907-1988) published his novel “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress." His
setting was a penal colony on the moon in 2075.
(V.D.-H.K.p.383)(WSJ, 4/18/09, p.W8)
1967 Jan 27, The US signed the
Outer Space Treaty with Russia. More than 60 nations signed a treaty
banning the orbiting of nuclear weapons. All weapons of mass
destruction were banned from orbit, as was military activity on the
moon and other celestial bodies.
(SFC, 1/28/67, p.A1)(AP, 1/27/98)(SSFC, 7/15/07,
1967 May 19, The Soviet Union
ratified a treaty with the United States and Britain banning nuclear
weapons from outer space: “Treaty on Principles Governing the
Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space,
including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies." The Int’l. Outer
Space Treaty barred nations from appropriating celestial bodies but
did not mention individuals.
(AP, 5/19/97)(SFC, 6/25/97, p.A15)(SFEC, 7/13/97,
1967 Nov 17, Surveyor 6 made a
six-second flight on moon, the first lift off on lunar surface.
1967 Surveyor 5 landed on the
moon at the Sea of Tranquility with an alpha-scattering spectrometer
to analyze the surface elements. The device was made by Prof.
Anthony L. Turkevich (1916-2002).
(SFC, 9/23/02, p.B5)
1968 Jan 9, The Surveyor VII
space probe made a soft landing on the moon, marking the end of the
American series of unmanned explorations of the lunar surface.
1968 Jan 22, Apollo 5 was
launched to the Moon from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
1968 Sep, The Soviet spacecraft
Zond (“Probe") 5 became the first to loop around the moon and return
to Earth. The L-1, given the name Zond, was a spacecraft designed to
carry two cosmonauts on a single loop around the moon. The L-1
suffered repeated failure and never flew with a crew. The unmanned
L-1s traveled to the moon five times under the Zond name.
1968 Oct 11, Apollo 7, the
first manned Apollo mission, was launched with astronauts Wally
Schirra, Donn Fulton Eisele and R. Walter Cunningham aboard.
1968 Nov 18, Soviets recovered
the Zond 6 spacecraft after a flight around the moon.
1968 Dec 21, Apollo 8 with
astronauts Borman, Lovell & Anders was launched on the 1st
mission to orbit the moon.
1968 Dec 24, The 3 Apollo 8
astronauts (James A. Lovell, William Anders and Frank Borman),
orbiting the moon, read passages from the Old Testament Book of
Genesis during a Christmas Eve television broadcast. The first
pictures of an Earth-rise over the Moon are seen as the crew of
Apollo 8 orbits the moon.
(TL, 1988, p.117)(AP, 12/24/97)(HN, 12/24/99)(MC,
1968 Dec 27, Apollo 8 and its
three astronauts made a safe, nighttime splashdown in the Pacific.
1969 Mar 3, Apollo 9 blasted
off from Cape Kennedy on a mission to test the lunar module.
1969 May 22, The lunar module
of Apollo 10 separated from the command module and flew to within
nine miles of the moon's surface in a dress rehearsal for the first
1969 Jul 16, Apollo XI set out
from Cape Canaveral (Cape Kennedy), Florida, with Neil Armstrong,
Edwin Aldrin, and Michael Collins on the first manned mission to the
surface of the moon.
(V.D.-H.K.p.182, 341)(AP, 7/16/97)
1969 Jul 19, Apollo 11 and its
astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins,
went into orbit around the moon. The Apollo 11 lunar lander engine
was built by TRW.
(AP, 7/19/99)(F, 10/7/96, p.71)
1969 Jul 20, Astronaut Neil
Armstrong took his legendary "one small step for man, one giant leap
for mankind." He and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin made the first successful
landing of a manned vehicle on the moon’s Sea of Tranquility when
they touched down in Apollo 11. Armstrong stepped down from the
ladder of the landing module Eagle to become the first man ever to
walk on the moon. The two astronauts explored the moon's surface for
2 1/2 hours, with amazed TV audiences looking on. Armstrong was
awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his accomplishments
and his contributions to the space program. Edwin Aldrin became the
second man to step foot on the moon shortly after Neil Armstrong
hopped off the lunar lander Eagle at 10:56 p.m. Armstrong and Aldrin
walked on the moon for about two hours during their 22-hour lunar
stay. Thomas Kelly (d.2002 at 72) was the engineer who had overseen
the building of the lunar module. In 2009 Buzz Aldrin authored
“Magnificent desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon."
(AP, 7/20/97)(HNPD, 7/20/98)(HNQ, 9/14/00)(SFC,
3/29/02, p.A24)(Econ, 7/18/09, p.82)
1969 Jul 21, Apollo 11
astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin blasted off from
the moon aboard the lunar module.
1969 Nov 14, Apollo 12 blasted
off for the moon.
1969 Nov 19, Apollo 12
astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean made man's second landing on
the moon. The second manned craft to land on the moon was the lunar
module Intrepid. It landed on the lunar surface at 1:54 a.m.
Intrepid landed 500 feet from the Surveyor 3 spacecraft. It spent 31
hours on the moon and docked with command module Yankee Clipper on
November 20 and splashed down in the Pacific on November 24.
(AP, 11/19/97)(HN, 11/19/98)(HNQ, 7/19/99)
1969 Nov 24, Apollo 12 splashed
down safely in the Pacific, ending the second manned mission to the
1970 Apr 11, Apollo 13 blasted
off on a mission to the moon, commanded by Jim Lovell. The mission
was disrupted on April 13, when an oxygen tank ruptured and crippled
the spacecraft. The astronauts managed to return safely on April 17.
(AP, 4/11/97)(AWAM, Dec. 94, p.79)(SFC, 4/10/20,
1970 Sep 12, The Soviet Union
launched its unmanned Soviet Luna 16. It was the first robotic probe
to land on the Moon and return a sample to Earth.
1970 Sep 20, The Soviet Luna 16
landed on Moon’s Mare Fecunditatis and drilled a core sample.
1970 Sep 24, The Soviet Luna 16
landed in Kazakhstan, completing the first unmanned round trip to
1970 Nov 10, The Soviet Union
launched Luna 17, an unmanned space mission of the Luna program,
towards the moon.
1970 Nov 17, The Soviet Union
landed an unmanned, remote-controlled vehicle on the moon, the
Lunokhod 1. The spacecraft which carried Lunokhod 1 was named Luna
1971 Jan 31, Astronauts Alan B.
Shepard Jr., Edgar D. Mitchell and Stuart A. Roosa blasted off
aboard Apollo 14 on a mission to the moon.
1971 Feb 5, Apollo 14 lander
Antares landed on Moon. Astronauts Shepard & Mitchell walked on
1971 Feb 6, Alan Shepard hit a
golf ball on the Moon during the Apollo 14 mission.
1971 Jul 30, US Apollo 15 with
astronauts Scott and Irwin landed at Mare Imbrium on the Moon.
1971 Jul 31, Apollo 15
astronauts (Dave Scott) took a drive on the moon in their land
1972 Feb 26, Soviets recovered
Luna 20 with a cargo of moon rocks.
1972 Apr 16, Apollo 16 blasted
off on a voyage to the moon.
1972 Apr 20, The manned lunar
module from Apollo 16 landed on the moon.
1972 Apr 21, Apollo 16
astronauts John Young and Charles Duke explored the surface of the
moon with Boeing Lunar Rover #2.
1972 Apr 27, Apollo 16 returned
1972 Dec 7, America's last moon
mission to date was launched as Apollo 17 blasted off from Cape
Canaveral at 12:33 a.m. It landed on the moon December 11 at 3:15
p.m. and took a historic photo of the Earth that showed our
"isolated blue planet."
(AP, 12/7/97)(SFC, 3/13/98, p.A19)(HNQ, 7/21/99)
1972 Dec 11, Challenger, the
Lunar Lander for Apollo 17, touched down on the Moon's surface. It
was the last time that men visited the Moon. The last two men to
walk on the surface of the moon were Harrison Schmitt and Eugene
Cernan. Cernan and Schmitt conducted the longest lunar exploration
of the Apollo program (75 hours), driving the lunar rover about 36
kilometers (22 miles) in all, ranging as far as 7.37 kilometers (4.5
miles) from the lunar module Challenger and collecting some 243
pounds of soil and rock samples.
(HNQ, 7/21/99)(HN, 12/11/99)
1972 Dec 13, Astronaut Gene
Cernan climbed into his Lunar Lander on the Moon and prepared to
lift-off. He was the last man to set foot on the Moon.
1972 Dec 14, Astronauts Schmitt
and Cernan blasted off from the moon to join the command module
America in lunar orbit, thus ending America’s manned lunar
exploration for the 20th century.
1972 Dec 19, Apollo 17 splashed
down in the Pacific, ending the Apollo program of manned lunar
1974 William K. Hartmann of the
Planetary Science Inst. In Tucson, Arizona, presented research that
proposed that the moon was formed from the remnants of a giant
impact, wherein a planet about the size of Mars struck Earth.
Alastair G.W. Cameron (1915-2005) of Harvard worked independently on
the same idea.
(SFC, 10/31/05, p.B4)
1976 Aug 22, A Soviet probe
called Luna 4 brought back to Earth 170 grams of lunar matter. It
was the third Soviet mission to return lunar soil samples from the
Moon (the first two sample return missions were Luna 16 and Luna
1979 Dec 18, The "Agreement
Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and other Celestial
Bodies" opened for signature. It extended a 1967 Space Treaty and
established that the Moon and the other bodies within our solar
system to be the common heritage of mankind. It entered into force
on July 11, 1984.
(SFEC, 7/13/97, Par
1980-1996 Scientist over this period established
that 12 meteorites in a worldwide collection had come from the moon.
They are called SNCs ("snicks"), an abbreviation for the locations
where they were discovered: Shergotty, India; Nakhla, Egypt; and
(SFC, 9/1/96, p.A22)(PacDis, Winter ’97, p.30)
1989 Aug 16, A rare "prime
time" lunar eclipse occurred over most of the United States,
although clouds spoiled the view for many.
1994 Jan 25, The United States
launched Clementine I, an unmanned spacecraft that was to study the
moon before it was "lost and gone forever."
1996 Dec 2, Scientists
disclosed that a suspected pond of ice was found in a deep crater of
the moon. Astronomers of Cornell Univ. in 1997 wrote that they saw
no evidence for ice on the moon.
(SFC, 12/3/96, p.A2)(WSJ, 6/6/97, p.A1)
1997 Jun 25, It was reported
that a man from Rio Vista, Ca., was doing a good business selling
the moon’s real estate. Dennis Hope was charging $15.99 for 1,777
acres of lunar land plus tax and shipping.
(SFC, 6/25/97, p.A15)
1997 Oct 24, The US Lunar
Prospector was scheduled to take off and circle the moon for a year
to look for minerals, ice, and to map the surface.
(USAT, 8/29/97, p.12A)
1998 Jan 5, A NASA launch of
the Lunar Prospector was the 3rd robot mission of the Discovery
Program. Lunar orbit was expected by Jan 12.
(SFEC, 1/4/98, p.A14)(SFC, 7/31/99, p.A2)
1998 Mar 5, NASA officials
announced that the Lunar Prospector probe found the presence of
water on the moon at the north and south poles. As much as 100
million tons of water was estimated. They said that the water frozen
in the loose soil of the moon might support a lunar base and a human
(SFC, 3/6/98, p.A1)(WSJ, 3/6/98, p.A1)(AP,
1999 Jul 31, NASA controllers
planned to send the $63 million Lunar Prospector crashing into the
Mawson crater located in the Moon’s south pole. They hoped to churn
up some water vapor for possible detection. Evidence of the crash at
2:51 PDT was not detected.
(SFC, 6/3/99, p.A4)(SFEC, 8/1/99, p.A3)
1999 The Japanese Institute of
space and Astronautical Sciences (ISAS) planned to launch its
Lunar-A to measure seismic activity on the Moon.
(SFC, 7/4/98, p.A10)
2001 Dec 12, David Criswell,
director of the Univ. of Houston Space Systems Operations, proposed
a “Lunar Solar Power System" to collect solar energy on the moon,
convert it to microwaves, and beam it to Earth for electrical power.
(SFC, 12/13/01, p.A5)
2002 Nov 29, It was reported
that TransOrbital Inc. had signed a $20 million contract with
Kosmotras, Moscow’s int’l. space company, to use decommissioned
ballistic missiles for commercial launches to the moon.
(SFC, 11/29/02, p.K3)
2002 Jun, Moon rocks were
stolen from a NASA safe. They were recovered in July at a hotel in
Orlando, Fl. 4 men were later convicted and sentenced to prison
terms. 3 young NASA employees, led by Thad Roberts (25) had stolen a
quarter pound of moon rocks and tried selling them online to a
Belgian collector, who alerted the FBI. In 2011 Ben Mezrich authored
“Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist
2003 Sep 27, Europe's first
mission to the moon blasted off aboard a European Ariane rocket from
French Guiana. The SMART-1 probe made it to within 3,100 miles of
the moon on Nov 15, 2004, and proceeded to move into an elliptical
orbit. The spacecraft ended its mission Sep 3, 2006, when it crashed
into the lunar surface.
(AP, 9/28/03)(SFC, 11/17/04, p.A3)(SSFC, 9/3/06,
2004 Jan 14, Pres. Bush
proposed a new space program that would send humans back to the moon
by 2015 and establish a base to Mars and beyond. Bush said he would
seek $12 billion for the initial stages of the plan.
(SFC, 1/15/04, p.A1)(WSJ, 1/15/04, p.A1)
2006 Sep 3, The SMART-1
spacecraft, Europe's first moon probe launched Sep 27, 2003, signed
off its mission on schedule by crashing into the lunar surface,
completing a project scientists hope will tell them more about the
(Reuters, 9/3/06)(SSFC, 9/3/06, p.A5)
2007 Sep 13, The X PRIZE
Foundation and Google Inc. announced the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a
robotic race to the Moon to win a remarkable $30 million prize
purse, so long as the task is completed by 2012.
2007 Oct 5, Japan put its first
satellite into orbit around the moon, placing the country a step
ahead of China and India in an increasingly heated space race in
2008 Oct 22, India launched its
first mission to the moon, rocketing the Chandrayaan 1 satellite up
into the pale dawn sky in a two-year mission to redraw maps of the
lunar surface. On board was the Mono Mineralogy Mapper, a NASA
(AP, 10/22/08)(Econ, 10/25/08, p.96)
2008 Nov 14, An Indian probe
landed on the moon, in a milestone for the country's 45-year-old
2009 Mar 1, China's lunar
probe, the Chang'e-1, named for a moon goddess, ended its
16-month life with a planned crash into the moon.
2009 Jun 18, NASA launched its
Lunar Crater Observation and sensing Satellite (LCROSS). The Mission
Objectives LCROSS included confirming the presence or absence of
water ice in a permanently shadowed crater at the Moon’s South Pole.
2009 Aug 28, India's first moon
mission, launched amid much fanfare in 2008, came to an abrupt end
after the country's lunar craft lost contact with its controllers.
The satellite was launched on October 22 and then fired a
TV-set-sized probe painted in the green, white and orange colors of
the Indian flag which landed on the moon on November 14.
2009 Sep 8, A review committee
on NASA, led by Norman Augustine, delivered a summary report saying
the agency does not have enough money to return to the moon. The
Augustine report also said that NASA should stop traveling to the
Int’l. Space Station and to low Earth orbit in general, leaving
these to the private sector.
(Econ, 9/12/09, p.87)
2009 Sep 29, China said it has
completed a high-resolution, three-dimensional map of the entire
surface of the moon, in an important step towards a future lunar
2009 Oct 9, NASA smacked two
spacecraft into the lunar south pole in a search for hidden ice.
Instruments confirm that a large empty rocket hull barreled into the
moon at 7:31 a.m., followed four minutes later by a probe with
cameras taking pictures of the first crash.
2009 Nov 13, NASA said a
"significant amount" of frozen water has been found on the moon
heralding a giant leap forward in space exploration and boosting
hopes of a permanent lunar base.
2010 Feb 1, NASA’s
back-to-the-moon program, Constellation, fell victim to budget cuts.
(Econ, 2/6/10, p.86)
2010 Oct 1, China launched its
second lunar exploration probe, boosting the country's efforts to
rise as a major space power eventually capable of landing a man on
the moon and perhaps one day exploring far beyond.
2011 Sep 10, NASA launched 2
near identical probes, named Grail-A and Grail-B, aboard a
relatively small Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fl. The pair
rocketed toward the moon on the first mission dedicated to measuring
lunar gravity and determining what's inside Earth's orbiting
companion, all the way down to the core.
2011 Dec 31, A NASA spacecraft,
the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, slipped into orbit
around the moon. A 2nd Grail probe was expected to enter orbit the
next day. Both were launched last September aboard the same rocket
to measure lunar gravity.
(SSFC, 1/1/12, p.A10)
2012 May 20, An annular eclipse
was visible in western US states from California to Texas.
Visibility came to parts of China, Taiwan and Japan May 21 local
time. An annular eclipse occurs when the moon passes in front of the
sun, but is too far from the Earth to block it out completely,
leaving the "ring of fire" visible.
2012 Dec 17, NASA space probes
EBB and Flow expired as they crashed into a lunar mountainside. They
were initially named “GRAIL A" and “GRAIL B," but were renamed by a
class of schoolchildren in Bozeman, Montana.
(Econ, 12/22/12, p.124)
2013 Mar 17, A boulder slammed
into the Moon, creating the biggest explosion scientists have seen
there since they started monitoring it.
2013 Sep 7, NASA launched the
unmanned LADEE spacecraft from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in
Virginia. It aimed to study the Moon's atmosphere was the US space
agency's third lunar probe in five years.
(AP, 9/7/13)(SSFC, 9/8/13, p.A8)
2013 Dec 2, China launched
Chang’e-3, its first moon rover mission, the latest step in an
ambitious space program seen as a symbol of its rising global
(AFP, 12/2/13)(Econ, 12/7/13, p.82)
2014 Nov 1, China successfully
recovered an experimental spacecraft that flew around the moon and
back in a test run for the country's first unmanned return trip to
the lunar surface. The eight-day trip marked the first time in
almost four decades that a spacecraft has returned to Earth after
traveling around the moon.
2016 Jul 18, NASA officials
said Taiwan is building a $47 million lunar lander as part of the
first ever moon-mining project. Chung-shan Institute of Science and
Technology (CSIST) will build the lander. The NASA project Resource
Prospector and aims to be the first mining expedition on another
2016 Aug 3, China's state media
reported that the Jade Rabbit lunar rover, which won a large
following on social media, has been retired after a record 31 months
of collecting data from the moon's surface. China’s rover arrived on
the moon on Dec. 14, 2013, aboard the Chang'e 3 lunar lander and was
designed to operate for just three months.
2018 Jan 31, The moon put on a
rare cosmic show: a red blue moon, super big and super bright. It's
the first time in 35 years a blue moon has synced up with a
supermoon and a total lunar eclipse, or blood moon because of its
2018 Dec 8, China launched a
Long March 3B rocket carrying a lunar probe from the Xichang
Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province. It hoped to land the
spacecraft on the largely unexplored far side of the moon.
2019 Jan 3, A Chinese space
probe successfully touched down on the far side of the moon. The
Chang'e-4 lunar probe, launched in December, made the "soft landing"
and transmitted the first-ever "close range" image of the far side
of the moon.
2019 Jan 4, China's Jade Rabbit
2 space rover explored the lunar terrain in the world's first
mission on the surface of the far side of the moon.
2019 Feb 21, A SpaceX Falcon 9
rocket lanched from Cape Canaveral carried a communications
satellite for Indonesia and a lunar lander for Israel. The lunar
lander was expected to touch down on the Sea of Serenity on April
(SFC, 2/23/19, p.A4)
2019 Apr 11, An Israeli
spacecraft crashed into the moon just moments before touchdown,
failing in an ambitious attempt to make history as the first
privately funded lunar landing. It had been hoped that the small
robotic spacecraft, built by the nonprofit SpaceIL and state-owned
Israel Aerospace Industries, would match a feat that has been
achieved only by US, Russia and China.
2019 Jul 22, India launched a
rocket into space in an attempt to safely land a rover on the moon,
its most ambitious mission yet in the effort to establish itself as
a low-cost space power.
2019 Sep 7, India's space
agency lost contact with a spacecraft it was trying to land on the
moon, in a setback for the nation's ambitious plans to become the
first country to probe the unexplored lunar south pole.
Communication was lost just as it was about to touch down.
2019 Sep 21, Australia's PM
Scott Morrison said his country will invest A$150 million ($101
million) in its companies and technology to help US President Donald
Trump's bid for a moon landing by 2024 and subsequent US missions to
2020 Sep 25, Scientists
reported that future moon explorers will be bombarded with two to
three times more radiation than astronauts aboard the International
Space Station, a health hazard that will require thick-walled
shelters for protection. China’s lander on the far side of the moon
is providing the first full measurements of radiation exposure from
the lunar surface.
2020 Oct 26, Scientists said
that lunar water is more widespread than previously known, with
water molecules trapped within mineral grains on the surface and
more water perhaps hidden in ice patches residing in permanent
2020 Nov 24, China's Chang'e 5
mission to the moon began as the four modules of the spacecraft
blasted off atop a massive Long March-5Y rocket from the Wenchang
launch center on Hainan island. The mission’s main task is to drill
2 meters (about 7 feet) into the moon’s surface and scoop up about 2
kg (4.4 pounds) of rocks and other debris.
2020 Dec 1, China landed a
robotic spacecraft on the moon to collect rocks and dirt. China
would be the third nation to bring back lunar samples, after the US
and the former Soviet Union. The spacecraft, Chang’e-5, was the
third successful uncrewed moon landing by China since 2013.
(NY Times, 12/1/20)
2020 Dec 6, A Chinese probe
that landed on the moon transferred 4.4 pounds of rocks to an
orbiter in preparation for returning samples to Earth.
(SFC, 12/7/20, p.A2)
2020 Dec 17, A Chinese capsule
returned to Earth landing in Inner Mongolia with about 4.4 pounds of
fresh samples of rock and debris from the moon.
(SFC, 12/17/20, p.A2)
2075 In 1966 Robert Heinlein
set his sci-fi novel “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" at a penal
colony on the moon in this year.
(WSJ, 4/18/09, p.W8)