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NEAR shoemaker lands and survives.
February 12, 2001 12:35 PM   Subscribe

NEAR shoemaker lands and survives. The NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft touched down on a barren space rock called Eros on Monday, in history’s first attempt to land an object on an asteroid. Scientists said the probe still appeared to be sending signals back to Earth after making contact, hinting that the car-sized probe survived the descent. The speed at impact was between 1.5-1.8 m/s. This marks the first time that a US spacecraft was the first to land on another body of the solar system. And, if the server is back up, it's worth checking out the project's website.
posted by warhol (11 comments total)

 
Woo-hoo! Americans are finally the first to land on another object in the Solar System and it's on a really big potato. I actually find this very cool, but the "being first" part is hysterical.
posted by quirked at 1:24 PM on February 12, 2001


"This marks the first time that a US spacecraft was the first to land on another body of the solar system."

Doesn't bouncing one off of Mars count?

Actually...has anyone else landed a probe on the moon? Or Mars? Just curious.

I'm glad it survived the landing. I was disappointed about the Polar Lander. (All I got was a lousy T-shirt.)
posted by kcchip at 2:36 PM on February 12, 2001


One small step for.....

I do wish they would build moon base Alpha, it's the next logical step after the space station.
posted by Zool at 3:12 PM on February 12, 2001


We didn't even "bounce" one off Mars until after the Soviets had landed (Mars 3, 1971; Viking 1, 1976).

Aside from the US and Russia, only the ESA and Japan have actually launched interplanetary craft. Europe's first was the Giotto probe to Halley's comet. Japan's was the Sakigake also to Halley. ESA is also our partner on Galileo (the Jupiter atmospheric probes) and Cassini (Titan probe). But neither has landed anything yet.
posted by dhartung at 3:19 PM on February 12, 2001


I wish, I really wish Gene Shoemaker was alive to see this....
posted by tomcosgrave at 3:33 PM on February 12, 2001


"This marks the first time that a US spacecraft was the first to land on another body of the solar system."

And although it's probably not too likely, isn't it possible that some E.T. dude landed on the asteroid in the past? Hey, you never know...

posted by gluechunk at 3:43 PM on February 12, 2001


The only leg of the space race won by NASA was the moon landing. The Russians did everything else first.


posted by Mars Saxman at 4:19 PM on February 12, 2001


Again just curious....did Russia land a probe on the moon? Interesting about Mars 3. I wonder if it did much. I remember the Viking (NASA satellite, btw) pictures.
Dang. I hate learning anything on a Monday...
posted by kcchip at 4:37 PM on February 12, 2001


Ah! I finally found it. The Soviet Luna IX landed on the moon in 1966.
posted by kcchip at 4:41 PM on February 12, 2001


For consolation, Russia's had just as much bad luck with Mars as we have. But they didn't send men to the moon, and they didn't send anything to the outer planets.

kc, their early landers were fairly primitive -- but so were ours. Viking was much more advanced than anything they tried. The late Russian exploration program had some pretty good experiments lined up, though -- if only they hadn't been lost en route (or on launch). The Russians have always done damned well with so much less. And their manned program, up until the last years of Mir (when money began to run short) was easily our equal.
posted by dhartung at 5:46 PM on February 12, 2001


Tom, I miss Gene Shoemaker too. Every time I think about how he died it hurts, even after all this time. He was still going strong and we might have gotten fifteen more years of miracles out of him except for that stupid car accident.

Such a waste.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:46 PM on February 12, 2001


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