Photograph taken by the Ranger VII spacecraft before it impacted on the Moon at 6:25 a.m. PDT July 31. Viewed with the three large shallow craters in the lower left hand corner, North is at the top of the picture. It was taken by the F-a camera with a 25mm. f/1 lens from an attitude of 480 miles. It duplicates closely resolution obtained in Earth-based photography. The large open dark crater in lower margin is Lubiniezky.
Fifty years ago the Ranger VII spacecraft returned the first close up images of the lunar surface from a U.S. space probe.
Leading up to the Apollo missions, NASA worked to learn about the lunar surface and excite the public for the coming manned mission. Project Ranger fulfilled both objectives by flying satellites directly into the moon. Just before impact, the Ranger probes would send back a flurry of high definition images of the lunar surface. While the first six Ranger probes failed, Ranger VII managed to transmit stunning images of the moon, like this one, back to Earth.