Full moon icon   Lunar Landing Sites

Adapted from the NASA National Space Science Data Center Lunar Exporation Timeline.

This document lists missions, manned and unmanned, which impacted, landed, or landed and returned from the Moon. Click on the landing co-ordinates to view the landing site on the Moon. If the landing site is in darkness, you can check the “No night” box on the Moon View display and press the “Update” button to view the site illuminated by the Sun at zenith.

Several additional spent rocket stages, Apollo discarded lunar module ascent stages, orbiters after end of mission, and a probe from India have impacted the Moon, but the exact locations have not been determined. They are not included here.

Soviet Luna Probes

The Luna series of unmanned probes (often called “Lunik” in the West during the early years) included the first to fly by the Moon and photograph the far-side, the first to impact the Moon, the first to soft land and return photographs, the first unmanned sample return (which occurred, however, after the manned Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 had already returned far more lunar samples), and the first to deploy a remotely-controlled rover. Only missions which impacted or soft landed are listed below.

Luna 2

Launched 12 Sep 1959
Impacted Moon 13 Sep 1959 at 22:02:04 UT
Latitude 29.10 N, Longitude 0.00 — Palus Putredinis

Luna 9

Launched 31 Jan 1966
Landed on Moon 03 Feb 1966 at 18:44:52 UT
Latitude 7.08 N, Longitude 64.37 W — Oceanus Procellarum

Luna 13

Launched 21 Dec 1966
Landed on Moon 24 Dec 1966 at 18:01:00 UT
Latitude 18.87 N, 62.05 W — Oceanus Procellarum

Luna 16

Launched 12 Sep 1970
Landed on Moon 20 Sep 1970 at 05:18:00 UT
doc Latitude 0.68 S, Longitude 56.30 E — Mare Fecunditatis
Lunar Sample Return

Luna 17

Launched 10 Nov 1970
Landed on Moon 17 Nov 1970 at 03:47:00 UT
Latitude 38.28 N, Longitude 35.00 W — Mare Imbrium
Lunar Rover — Lunokhod 1

Luna 20

Launched 14 Feb 1972
Landed on Moon 21 Feb 1972 at 19:19:00 UT
Latitude 3.57 N, Longitude 56.50 E — Mare Fecunditatis
Lunar Sample Return to Earth 25 Feb 1972

Luna 21

Launched 08 Jan 1973
Landed on Moon 15 Jan 1973 at 23:35:00 UT
Latitude 25.51 N, Longitude 30.38 E — Mare Serenitatis
Lunar Rover — Lunokhod 2

Luna 24

Launched 14 Aug 1976
Landed on Moon 18 Aug 1976 at 02:00:00 UT
Latitude 12.25 N, Longitude 62.20 E — Mare Crisium
Lunar Sample Return

U.S. Ranger Probes

The Ranger series included both probes which impacted the Moon at high velocity, returning images with increasing resolution up to the moment of impact, and “hard landers” which fired a braking motor at the last moment, dropping an instrument package protected by a balsa wood spherical shock absorber. The early Ranger missions were plagued by problems; the first successful mission was Ranger 7 in 1964. None of the hard landers succeeded; the three successful missions were all imaging impact probes. Ranger 8 flew a direct-in trajectory toward Mare Tranquillitatis, the Sea of Tranquility, providing the first close-up views which indicated the surface was smooth enough for the Apollo Lunar Module to land there.

Ranger 7

Launched 28 July 1964
Impacted Moon 31 July 1964 at 13:25:49 UT
Latitude 10.35 S, Longitude 20.58 W — Mare Cognitum (Sea of Clouds)

Ranger 8

Launched 17 February 1965
Impacted Moon 20 February 1965 at 09:57:37 UT
Latitude 2.67 N, Longitude 24.65 E — Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility)

Ranger 9

Launched 21 March 1965
Impacted Moon 24 March 1965 at 14:08:20 UT
Latitude 12.83 S, Longitude 2.37 W — Alphonsus

U.S. Surveyor Landers

The Surveyor soft landers proved the lunar surface was sufficiently flat and strong to allow the Apollo Lunar Module to land. (Prior to the soft landings by Luna 9 and Surveyor 1 in 1966, some believed the Moon to be covered by a deep sea of dust, into which any lander would sink, never to be seen again.) Surveyor probes were equipped with steerable cameras which provided paranoramic views of their landing sites. Later Surveyors carried a robotic scoop which could excavate soil, move rocks, and deposit soil into instruments for analysis, which provided the first on-site data about its composition.

Surveyor 1

Launched 30 May 1966
Landed 02 June 1966, 06:17:37 UT
Latitude 2.45 S, Longitude 43.21 W — Flamsteed P

Surveyor 2

Launched 20 September 1966
Crashed on Moon 22 September 1966
Vernier engine failed to ignite — southeast of Copernicus Crater

Surveyor 3

Launched 17 April 1967
Landed 20 April 1967, 00:04:53 UT
Latitude 2.94 S, Longitude 23.34 W — Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms)

Surveyor 4

Launched 14 July 1967
Radio contact lost 17 July 1967
2.5 minutes from touchdown — Sinus Medii

Surveyor 5

Launched 08 September 1967
Landed 11 September 1967, 00:46:44 UT
Latitude 1.41 N, Longitude 23.18 E — Mare Tranquillitatus (Sea of Tranquility)

Surveyor 6

Launched 07 November 1967
Landed 10 November 1967, 01:01:06 UT
Latitude 0.46 N, Longitude 1.37 W — Sinus Medii

Surveyor 7

Launched 07 January 1968
Landed 10 January 1968, 01:05:36 UT
Latitude 41.01 S, Longitude 11.41 W — Tycho North Rim

U.S. Apollo Manned Lunar Landings

The Apollo manned lunar landings returned more than 380 kilograms of samples from a variety of lunar terrain and emplaced instrument packages which performed measurements long after the astronauts had left. Seismometers allowed studying the lunar interior, both from response to natural moonquakes and impacts when spent S-IVB stages that boosted Apollo to the Moon and Lunar Modules (after the astronauts had departed, of course!) were deliberately crashed into the Moon. Laser retroreflectors left by Apollo missions remain in use today, providing data for research in topics ranging from dynamics of the Earth/Moon system to tests of general relativity.

Apollo 11

Launched 16 July 1969
Landed 20 July 1969
Latitude 0.67 N, Longitude 23.49 E — Mare Tranquillitatis

Apollo 12

Launched 14 November 1969
Landed 19 November 1969
Latitude 2.94 S, Longitude 23.45 W — Oceanus Procellarum
Apollo 12 landed within walking distance of Surveyor 3, and astronauts returned pieces of that probe allowing study of long-term exposure to the lunar environment.

Apollo 14

Launched 31 January 1971
Landed 05 February 1971
Latitude 3.67 S, Longitude 17.46 W — Fra Mauro

Apollo 15

Launched 26 July 1971
Landed 30 July 1971
Latitude 26.11 N, Longitude 3.66 E — Hadley Rille

Apollo 16

Launched 16 April 1972
Landed 20 April 1972
Latitude 8.60 S, Longitude 15.31 E — Descartes

Apollo 17

Launched 07 December 1972
Landed 11 December 1972
Latitude 20.17 N, Longitude 30.80 E — Taurus-Littrow

U.S. LCROSS Impact Probe

In 2009, the U.S. launched the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission to search for water in Cabeus crater near the lunar south pole. The mission deliberately crashed its rocket booster into the crater floor to create a debris plume which the spacecraft would fly through and analyse before itself crashing on the lunar surface.

Launched 18 Jun 2009
Impacted Moon 09 Oct 2009 — Cabeus crater
Centaur upper stage at 11:31:20 UT Latitude 84.678 S, Longitude 48.725 W
Shepherding spacecraft at 11:35:36 UT Latitude 84.72 S, Longitude 49.62 W

Chinese Chang'e Landers

In the 21st century, China embarked on a program of lunar exploration with orbiters and, so far, one lander with a rover. Additional missions are planned, including landers and sample return.

Chang'e 3

Launched 01 Dec 2013
Landed on Moon 14 Dec 1973 at 13:11 UT
Latitude 44.12 N, Longitude 19.51 W — Mare Imbrium
Lunar Rover — Yutu