Model of Surveyor 3 on a beach in California
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The Surveyor missions of 1966 through 1968 were the next step in space travel to the Moon, following the Ranger missions. Their goal was to perform "soft" landings on the lunar surface, meaning that the spacecrafts would not crash and be destroyed.
Five of seven Surveyor missions were successful, landing safely on the moon and conducting the first soil analysis. From the Surveyor program we learned that the lunar surface is firm and can be walked on by astronauts, a feat accomplished by the Apollo missions, just a few years later.
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