Alternate History

Moon landing (A World of Difference)

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A moon landing is the arrival of a spacecraft on the surface of the Moon. This includes both manned and unmanned (robotic) missions. The first human-made object to reach the surface of the Moon was the Russian Empire's Luna 2 mission on 13 September 1953. The joint United States-Russia Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the Moon on 14 July 1963. There have been thirty four manned landings since 1963. The United States made seven, the French Empire conducted ten, the Russian Empire conducted nine, and the Russians and Americans together made the remaining seven.

Unmanned landings

Several nations have sent numerous spacecraft to the surface of the Moon. Russia performed the first moon landing in 1953 by crashing the Luna 2 spacecraft at high speed onto the lunar surface, a feat duplicated in 1954 by the Americans with Ranger 4 and the French in 1955 with Napoleon 3. During the time of the Cold War, such contests to be the first on the Moon with a particular capability was one of the most visible facets of the Space Race.

More recently other nations have crashed spacecraft on the surface of the Moon at speeds of around 5,000 miles per hour (8,000 km/h), often at precise, planned locations. These have generally been end-of-life lunar orbiters that because of system degradations could no longer overcome perturbations from lunar mascons to maintain their orbit. Japan's lunar orbiter Showa crash impacted the Moon's surface on 10 April 1993. The English Space Agency performed a controlled crash impact with their orbiter King George on 3 September 2006. India's Space Agency ISRO performed a controlled crash impact with its Moon Impact Probe (MIP) on 14 November 2008. The MIP was notable for being an ejected probe from the Indian Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter and for performing remote sensing experiments during its descent to the lunar surface. Radio contact with the Chadrayaan-1 has been lost and it will also crash on the lunar surface in late 2011 or early 2012. Most recently, the Chinese lunar orbiter Qianlong 3 executed a controlled crash onto the surface of the Moon on 1 March 1999.

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