History of lunar observation and exploration


History of lunar observation and exploration

Table
History of lunar observation and exploration
time period accomplishment
prehistoric and early historic times Basic knowledge of Moon's motion, phases, and markings is gathered and expressed in myth and legend.
500 BC to AD 150 Phases and eclipses are correctly explained; Moon's size and distance from Earth are measured.
Middle Ages Lunar ephemeris is refined.
Renaissance Laws of motion are formulated; telescopic observations begin.
19th century Near-side lunar mapping is completed; atmosphere is proved absent; geologic principles are applied in volcanism-versus-impact debate over formation of Moon's landscape.
1924 Polarimetry studies show that lunar surface is composed of small particles.
1927-30 Surface temperatures are measured for lunar day and night and during eclipses.
1946 Radar echoes are reflected from Moon and detected for first time.
1950-57 Theories of Moon's formation are incorporated in efforts to explain origin of solar system; radiometric age dating is employed in meteorite research; lunar subsurface temperatures are measured by microwave radiometry; relative ages of lunar features are derived from principles of stratigraphy (study of rock layers and their chronological relationship).
1959 Luna 2 spacecraft becomes first man-made object to strike Moon; global magnetic field is found to be absent; Luna 3 supplies first far-side images.
1960 Detailed measurements of lunar surface cooling during eclipses are made from Earth.
1964 Ranger 7 transmits high-resolution pictures of Moon.
1966 Luna 9 and Surveyor 1 make first lunar soft landings; Luna 10 and Lunar Orbiter 1 become first spacecraft to orbit Moon.
1967 First measurements made of lunar surface chemistry.
1968 Mascons are discovered in analysis of data from Lunar Orbiters; Apollo 8 astronauts orbit Moon.
1969 Apollo 11 astronauts become first humans to walk on Moon; lunar samples and data are returned to Earth.
1969-74 Manned Apollo orbital and surface expeditions and automated Luna flights explore Moon's lower latitudes; Apollo program is completed.
1970s-present Lunar studies are continued using samples returned by Apollo and Luna missions, meteorites originating from Moon, and data gathered by Earth-based mineralogical remote-sensing techniques.
1990 Galileo spacecraft collects compositional remote-sensing data during lunar flyby, demonstrating potential for future orbital geochemical missions.
1994 Orbiting Clementine spacecraft provides imagery, altimetry, and gravity maps of entire Moon.
1998-99 Orbiting Lunar Prospector spacecraft maps lunar surface composition and magnetic field; its neutron spectrometer data confirm presence of excess hydrogen at both poles, suggesting presence of water ice there.
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Universalium. 2010.

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