An astronaut is inspecting the Surveyor 3 spacecraft, an unmanned vehicle that achieved the second successful soft landing on the Moon by the United States. Apollo 12 (on the horizon) was the second manned mission to the lunar surface; it made a precision landing in November 1969 within 100 meters (330 feet) of Surveyor 3, which allowed the astronauts to walk to the spacecraft and retrieve parts for later analysis. The Surveyor 3 parts provided valuable information on how manmade materials withstood the harsh lunar environment during the 31 months that separated the two landings. Apollo 12 represents a remarkable triumph of technology, evidenced by the fact that the unsuccessful Surveyor 2 was followed, within three years, by men visiting the Surveyor 3 spacecraft on the Moon.
Apollo lunar photograph AS12-48-7134.