Apollo 12 photograph:
Lunar excursion to visit Surveyor 3 lander,
screen capture of two spacecraft on lunar surface
This image is a frame from video shot on the Moon in 1969 by Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean showing how close the mission’s lunar landing craft set down to NASA’s unmanned Surveyor 3 probe. This was exactly the reason chosen for the landing site, and the intended touchdown location was called Pete’s parking lot (car park) after mission commander Pete Conrad. The idea that man could arrive on the moon on just his second mission and find the “object” of prior human activity within walking distance (185m) defies the imagination. The Apollo landing site was so close to the Surveyor that the landing rocket exhaust caused high-velocity sandblasting of the exposed Surveyor surfaces. This the first, and to date, the only time that humans have caught up to a probe sent to land on another world. The astronauts took 20 pounds of parts of the Surveyor craft, including its TV camera, back to Earth for followup investigation on the effects of lunar exposure.