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
(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 BC.
(Reuters, 9/5/07)(SFC, 9/6/07, p.A14)(Econ, 9/8/07,
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 the moon.
(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)
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 29, 1919.”
(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
(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 in
(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 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 moon.
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 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
(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.
(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 lunar
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 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 the
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 17.
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 the
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 rover.
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 to
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
(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
(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
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)
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,
(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 Chassigny,
(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 colony.
(SFC, 3/6/98, p.A1)(WSJ, 3/6/98, p.A1)(AP, 3/5/99)
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 Jul, Moon rocks stolen from a
NASA safe were recovered at a hotel in Orlando, Fl. 4 men were later
convicted and sentenced to prison terms.
(USAT, 10/30/03, p.7A)
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
(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 moon's origin.
(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.
(www.googlelunarxprize.org/)(Econ, 9/15/07, p.100)
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 Asia.
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 space
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
(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.
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)