Used Spacecraft Lot Needed On Moon

If you could salvage all of the material that human beings have left on the moon, you could open a fairly substantial used spacecraft lot.

If all of these craft could be collected in one junkyard/sales lot, the sales brochure would look like this:

Update 16-May-2007: Corrections have been made to the list based on attentive reader comments. End update notice.

Mission Object Description Condition Year
Luna 2 Small spherical craft with sensors Poor (Crash-landed) 1959
Ranger 4 5' high sensor platform w/failed solar panels Poor (Crash-landed) 1962
Rangers 6-9 #6 arrived but failed; others deployed sending photos Poor (Crash-landed) 1964-5
Luna 5,7,8 Sensor platforms with retro-rockets attempt soft landings Poor (Crash-landed) 1965
Luna 9 Spherical sensor platform with cameras makes successful soft-landing, sends back photos Excellent (dead battery) 1966
Surveyor 1-7 Sensor platform w/solar panels, soil analysis
(some vandalism on #3 by Pete Conrad - camera missing)
Excellent (#3 checked by Apollo crew 1969) 1966-68
Luna 10-12 Satellites with MP3 capability (transmitted "Internationale") orbited moon Poor (Crash-landed) 1966-68
Luna 13 Achieved soft-landing; excellent cameras, detailed soil analysis Excellent (battery dead) 1966
Lunar Orbiter 1-5 Satellites w/solar panels and dish antennae, excellent cameras and 70 mm film processing Poor (Crash-landed) 1966-67
Explorer 35 Satellite with sensors; switched off 1972 Poor (Crash-landed) 1967
Apollo 10-17 Lunar lander descent stages; some missions left behind retroflectors for lunar ranging.
[except for #13, which never got there, and #10, which crashed]
Excellent 1969-72
Apollo 10-17 Lunar lander ascent stages, which fell back onto the moon.
[except for #13, which never got there.]
Poor 1969-72
Apollo 15-17 Lunar Roving Vehicles (style: dune buggy) in good shape, low mileage Good 1971-72
Luna 15 Platform-style unmanned lander intended to bring back samples Poor (Crash-landed) 1969
Lunokhod 1 Robotic lunar rover with cameras teleoperated from Earth; low mileage Good 1970
Lunokhod 2 Robotic lunar rover with upgrades also equipped with laser-ranging reflector Good 1973
Luna 23,24 Platform-style craft left descent stages Good 1974
Hiten/ Hagoromo Satellite lunar probes Poor (Crash-landed) 1990
Lunar Prospector Sensor-laden craft intended to locate lunar water Poor (Crash-landed) 1998
Smart-1 Satellite with unique Hall effect ion-thruster Poor (Crash-landed) 2006

Science fiction writers have already explored the idea of a used spacecraft lot on the Moon. In his 1941 novel Methuselah's Children, Robert Heinlein describes it this way:

...Despite efforts to make the Moon colony ecologically self-sufficient, Luna City still imported vastly more tonnage than she exported. On Earth this would have resulted in "empties coming back"; in space transport it was sometimes cheaper to let empties accumulate, especially on Luna where an empty freighter was worth more as metal than it had cost originally as a ship back Earthside.

They suited up and left the dome by North Tunnel, then strolled along the grounded ships in the long, easy strides of low gravity...
(Read more about Lunar Used Spacecraft Lot)


(Lunar Rovers (3); low mileage, excellent shape, make offer)

If you are interested in space junk, you will want to collect these stories:

Via Moon Junk.

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