Collection Item Summary:
The Surveyor series was designed to carry out soft landings on the Moon and provide data about its surface and possible atmosphere. These were the first U.S. probes to soft-land on the Moon. Once landed they provided detailed pictures of the surface by means of a TV camera mounted on the spacecraft. Later Surveyors carried the instrumented soil mechanics surface scoop seen on the artifact. These were used to study the mechanical properties of lunar soil. Some of the spacecraft were also equipped to perform simple chemical analyses on lunar soil by means of alpha particle scattering. There were seven Surveyor launches starting in May, 1966, all launched by the Atlas-Centaur rocket. All but two successfully achieved program goals returning over 88,000 high resolution photographs and invaluable detailed data on the nature and strength of the lunar surface.
These lander parts were transferred by NASA to the Smithsonian in 1968, and were received with the Surveyor engineering model, S-10, which was used for thermal control tests.