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Apollo 12, Surveyor 3 Landing Sites

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Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Looks at Apollo 12, Surveyor 3 Landing Sites

The Lunar Orbiter program, much like the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, was designed primarily to obtain images that would allow scientists and engineers to characterize the moon's surface in the context of finding safe and engaging landing sites for future missions.

Between 1966 and 1967, five unmanned Lunar Orbiters were sent to the moon. They collectively photographed most of the lunar surface at 60- to 600-meter resolution (66 to 656 yards), with resolutions as high as 1 meter-per-pixel (3.3 feet) for some of the Lunar Orbiter 5 photographs. In 1967, NASA launched Lunar Orbiter 3 with the primary objective of finding safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions. Both a Surveyor and an Apollo mission soon visited one area that the Lunar Orbiter photographed. Surveyor 3 landed on April 20, 1967, in Oceanus Procellarum, in a small, 200-meter crater that was later named Surveyor crater.

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