Ranger 8 launched on an Atlas-Agena B from Launch Complex 12 at Cape Canaveral on February 17, 1965. The probe took more than 7,000 high-resolution images of the moon before impacting the lunar surface on February 20, 1965. The lander was part of the series of nine Ranger spacecraft launched in the early 1960s to explore the moon.
Ranger 8 impacted the moon only 24 kilometers from its target in the Sea of Tranquility, an area that was of particular interest to Apollo mission planners. Images from the mission, which detailed the kind of terrain and obstacles that a human explorer might encounter, paved the way for future human exploration of the moon.
Image courtesy of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
SDASM Archives number: 41552442
Date: February 17, 1965
Owner: NASA on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons