Surveyor 3, Apollo 12, and Interplanetary Microbes

This week, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter program released a striking image of the Ocean of Storms. The picture shows two historic missions at once: Surveyor 3 and Apollo 12, two missions that overlap in NASA’s history. The unmanned Surveyor 3 landed in 1967, and in 1969 the Apollo 12 lunar crew recovered pieces of its hardware and returned it to Earth. It was the first, and so far only, time humans have visited an unmanned spacecraft. But there’s more to the story. Microbes were found on the pieces of Surveyor 3 the Apollo 12 astronauts brought back. Read the full article on Motherboard. (Left, Apollo 12 commander Pete Conrad poses with Surveyor. The LM Intrepid is seen in the distance – talk about a precision landing! November 1969.)

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