“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Neil Armstrong muttered these famous words when he became the first person to ever step onto the Moon in 1969. Since then, voyages to the Moon have been few and far between – and the reasons why are tough to hear.
In 1958 the United States Air Force first attempted to launch a probe into orbit around the Moon. Pioneer 0, as this probe is now known, was equipped with a camera and other instruments to record data about Earth’s natural satellite. However, it only reached about 10 miles into the air before the rocket carrying it skyward malfunctioned and exploded.
Six years later, it was actually NASA which successfully launched the U.S.’s first lunar probe in 1964. Ranger 7 launched on July 28 of that year, armed with top-notch cameras to capture some images. Indeed, more than 4,300 photos were taken throughout the last 17 minutes of the probe’s approach to the Moon.