List of lunar probes

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Surveyor 3 on the Moon.
The first image returned by Luna 3 showed the far side of the Moon

This is a list of space probes that have flown by, impacted, orbited or landed on the Moon for the purpose of lunar exploration, as well as probes launched toward the Moon that failed to reach their target. Confirmed future probes are included, but missions that are still at the concept stage, or which never progressed beyond the concept stage, are not.

The crewed Apollo missions are listed at List of missions to the Moon.

Key[edit]

Colour key:

     – Mission or flyby completed successfully (or partially successfully)          – Failed or cancelled mission
     – Mission en route or in progress (including mission extensions)      – Planned mission
  • means "tentatively identified", as classified by NASA [1]. These are Cold War-era Soviet missions, mostly failures, about which few or no details have been officially released. The information given may be speculative.[needs update]
  • Date is the date of:
  • closest encounter (flybys)
  • impact (impactors)
  • orbital insertion to end of mission, whether planned or premature (orbiters)
  • landing to end of mission, whether planned or premature (landers)
  • launch (missions that never got underway due to failure at or soon after launch)
In cases which do not fit any of the above, the event to which the date refers is stated. Note that as a result of this scheme missions are not always listed in order of launch.
  • In the case of flybys (such as gravity assists) that are incidental to the main mission, "success" indicates the successful completion of the flyby, not necessarily that of the main mission.

Lunar probes by date[edit]

1958–1960[edit]

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Pioneer 0 United States DOD 17 August 1958 orbiter failure first attempted launch beyond Earth orbit; launch vehicle failure; maximum altitude 16 km Pioneer able.png [2]
Luna E-1 No.1 Soviet Union USSR 23 September 1958 impactor failure launch vehicle failure [3]
Pioneer 1 United States NASA/
No image.svg DOD
11 October 1958 orbiter failure second stage premature shutdown; maximum altitude 113,800 km; some data returned Pioneer I on the Launch Pad - GPN-2002-000204.jpg 1958-007A
Luna E-1 No.2 Soviet Union USSR 12 October 1958 impactor failure launch vehicle failure [4]
Pioneer 2 United States NASA/
No image.svg STL
8 November 1958 orbiter failure third stage failure; maximum altitude 1,550 km; some data returned Pioneer able.png PION2
Luna E-1 No.3 Soviet Union USSR 4 December 1958 impactor failure launch vehicle failure [5]
Pioneer 3 United States NASA/
No image.svg DOD
6 December 1958 flyby failure fuel depletion; maximum altitude 102,360 km; some data returned Pioneer-3-4.gif 1958-008A
Luna 1 Soviet Union USSR 4 January 1959 flyby partial success first spacecraft in the vicinity of the Moon (flew within 5,995 km, but probably an intended impactor) 1959-012A
Pioneer 4 United States NASA/
No image.svg DOD
4 March 1959 flyby partial success achieved distant flyby; first US probe to enter solar orbit Pioneer-3-4.gif 1959-013A
Luna E-1A No.1 Soviet Union USSR 18 June 1959 impactor failure failed to reach Earth orbit Luna 2 Soviet moon probe.jpg [6]
Luna 2 Soviet Union USSR 14 September 1959 impactor success first impact on Moon Luna 2 Soviet moon probe.jpg 1959-014A
Pioneer P-1 United States NASA 24 September 1959? orbiter? failure designation sometimes given to a failed launch or launchpad explosion during testing; conflicting information between sources Pioneer-5.jpg
Luna 3 Soviet Union USSR 6 October 1959 flyby success first images from the lunar farside Lunik 3.jpg 1959-008A
Pioneer P-3 United States NASA 26 November 1959 orbiter failure disintegrated shortly after launch Pioneer-5.jpg PIONX
Luna 1960A Soviet Union USSR 15 April 1960 flyby failure failed to attain correct trajectory Lunik 3.jpg [7]
Luna 1960B Soviet Union USSR 16 April 1960 flyby failure launch vehicle failure Lunik 3.jpg [8]
Pioneer P-30 United States NASA 25 September 1960 orbiter failure second stage failure; failed to reach Earth orbit Pioneer-5.jpg PIONY
Pioneer P-31 United States NASA 15 December 1960 orbiter failure first stage failure Pioneer-5.jpg PIONZ

1962–1965[edit]

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Ranger 3 United States NASA 28 January 1962 impactor failure missed target 1964 71392L.jpg 1962-001A
Ranger 4 United States NASA 26 April 1962 impactor failure hit the lunar farside; no data returned 1964 71394L.jpg 1962-012A
Ranger 5 United States NASA 21 October 1962 impactor failure power failure, missed target 1964 71395L-Ranger.svg 1962-055A
Sputnik 25 Soviet Union USSR 5 January 1963 lander failure failed to escape Earth orbit 1963-001A
Luna E-6 No.3 Soviet Union USSR 2 February 1963 lander? failure failed to reach Earth orbit [9]
Luna 4 Soviet Union USSR 5 April 1963 lander? failure missed target, became Earth satellite 1963-008B
Ranger 6 United States NASA 2 February 1964 impactor partial success impacted, but no pictures returned due to power failure The Ranger Spacecraft GPN-2000-001979.jpg 1964-007A
Luna 1964A Soviet Union USSR 21 March 1964 lander failure failed to reach Earth orbit
Ranger 7 United States NASA 31 July 1964 impactor success returned pictures until impact The Ranger Spacecraft GPN-2000-001979.jpg 1964-041A
Ranger 8 United States NASA 20 February 1965 impactor success returned pictures until impact The Ranger Spacecraft GPN-2000-001979.jpg 1965-010A
Cosmos 60 Soviet Union USSR 12 March 1965 lander failure failed to leave Earth orbit 1965-018A
Ranger 9 United States NASA 24 March 1965 impactor success TV broadcast of live pictures until impact The Ranger Spacecraft GPN-2000-001979.jpg 1965-023A
Luna 1965A Soviet Union USSR 10 April 1965 lander? failure failed to reach Earth orbit? [10]
Luna 5 Soviet Union USSR 12 May 1965 lander failure crashed into Moon 1965-036A
Luna 6 Soviet Union USSR 8 June 1965 lander failure missed Moon 1965-044A
Zond 3 Soviet Union USSR 20 July 1965 flyby success possibly originally intended as a Mars probe, but target changed after launch window missed 1965-056A
Luna 7 Soviet Union USSR 7 October 1965 lander failure crashed into Moon 1965-077A
Luna 8 Soviet Union USSR 6 December 1965 lander failure crashed into Moon 1965-099A

1966–1967[edit]

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Luna 9 Soviet Union USSR 3 February 1966 –
6 February 1966
lander success first soft landing; first images from the surface 1966-006A
Cosmos 111 Soviet Union USSR 1 March 1966 orbiter failure failed to escape Earth orbit Luna-10.jpg 1966-017A
Luna 10 Soviet Union USSR 3 April 1966 –
30 May 1966
orbiter success first artificial satellite of the moon Luna-10.jpg 1966-027A
Luna 1966A Soviet Union USSR 30 April 1966 orbiter? failure failed to reach Earth orbit Luna-10.jpg [11]
Surveyor 1 United States NASA 2 June 1966 lander success first US soft landing; Surveyor program performed various tests in support of forthcoming manned landings Surveyor NASA lunar lander.jpg 1966-045A
Explorer 33 United States NASA 1 July 1966 –
15 September 1971
orbiter partial success studied interplanetary plasma, cosmic rays, magnetic fields and solar X rays; failed to attain lunar orbit as intended, but achieved mission objectives from Earth orbit IMP-D.jpg 1966-058A
Lunar Orbiter 1 United States NASA 14 August 1966 –
29 October 1966
orbiter success photographic mapping of lunar surface; intentionally impacted after completion of mission Lunar orbiter 1 (large).jpg 1966-073A
Luna 11 Soviet Union USSR 28 August 1966 –
1 October 1966
orbiter success gamma-ray and X-ray-based observations of Moon's composition; gravity, radiation and meteorite studies 1966-078A
Surveyor 2 United States NASA 23 September 1966 lander failure crashed into Moon Surveyor NASA lunar lander.jpg 1966-084A
Luna 12 Soviet Union USSR 25 October 1966 –
19 January 1967
orbiter success lunar surface photography 1966-094A
Lunar Orbiter 2 United States NASA 10 November 1966 –
11 October 1967
orbiter success photographic mapping of lunar surface; intentionally impacted after completion of mission Lunar orbiter 1 (large).jpg 1966-100A
Luna 13 Soviet Union USSR 24 December 1966 lander success TV pictures of lunar landscape; soil measurements 1966-116A
Lunar Orbiter 3 United States NASA 8 February 1967 –
9 October 1967
orbiter success photographic mapping of lunar surface; intentionally impacted after completion of mission Lunar orbiter 1 (large).jpg 1967-008A
Surveyor 3 United States NASA 20 April 1967 –
4 May 1967
lander success various studies, primarily in support of forthcoming manned landings Surveyor 3 on the Moon.jpg 1967-035A
Lunar Orbiter 4 United States NASA May–October 1967 orbiter success lunar photographic survey Lunar orbiter 1 (large).jpg 1967-041A
Explorer 35 United States NASA July 1967 –
24 June 1973
orbiter success studies of interplanetary plasma, magnetic fields, energetic particles and solar X rays IMP-E.jpg 1967-070A
Surveyor 4 United States NASA 17 July 1967 lander failure crashed into Moon Surveyor NASA lunar lander.jpg 1967-068A
Lunar Orbiter 5 United States NASA 5 August 1967 –
31 January 1968
orbiter success lunar photographic survey; intentionally impacted after completion of mission Lunar orbiter 1 (large).jpg 1967-075A
Surveyor 5 United States NASA 11 September 1967 –
17 December 1967
lander success various studies, primarily in support of forthcoming manned landings Surveyor NASA lunar lander.jpg 1967-084A
Zond 1967A Soviet Union USSR 28 September 1967 failure lunar capsule test flight; launch failure Zond L1 drawing.png [12]
Surveyor 6 United States NASA 10 November 1967 –
14 December 1967
lander success various studies, primarily in support of forthcoming manned landings Surveyor NASA lunar lander.jpg 1967-112A
Zond 1967B Soviet Union USSR 22 November 1967 failure lunar capsule test flight; launch failure Zond L1 drawing.png [13]

1968–1970[edit]

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Surveyor 7 United States NASA 10 January 1968 –
21 February 1968
lander success various studies, primarily in support of forthcoming manned landings; fifth and final Surveyor mission to achieve soft landing Surveyor NASA lunar lander.jpg 1968-001A
Luna 1968A Soviet Union USSR 7 February 1968 orbiter? failure failed to reach Earth orbit [14]
Zond 4 Soviet Union USSR 2 March 1968 (launch) lunar programme flight test, directed away from Moon, either intentionally or unintentionally Zond L1 drawing.png 1968-013A
Luna 14 Soviet Union USSR 10 April 1968 – ? orbiter success tests of radio communications technologies; lunar mascon studies 1968-027A
Zond 1968A Soviet Union USSR 23 April 1968 flyby? failure launch failure Zond L1 drawing.png [15]
Zond 5 Soviet Union USSR 18 September 1968 flyby success bioscience experiments; returned to soft landing on Earth Zond L1 drawing.png 1968-076A
Zond 6 Soviet Union USSR 14 November 1968 flyby success cosmic-ray, micrometeoroid and bioscience studies; returned to soft landing on Earth Zond L1 drawing.png 1968-101A
Zond 1969A Soviet Union USSR 20 January 1969 flyby failure launch aborted Zond L1 drawing.png [16]
Luna 1969A Soviet Union USSR 19 February 1969 rover failure launch vehicle failure Lunakod landing bus-Luna17.jpg [17]
Zond L1S-1 Soviet Union USSR 21 February 1969 orbiter failure launch vehicle failure Zond L1 drawing.png [18]
Luna 1969B Soviet Union USSR 15 April 1969 sample return? failure launch failure Luna-16.jpg [19]
Luna 1969C Soviet Union USSR 14 June 1969 sample return failure launch failure Luna-16.jpg [20]
Zond L1S-2 Soviet Union USSR 3 July 1969 orbiter failure launch failure Zond L1 drawing.png [21]
Luna 15 Soviet Union USSR 21 July 1969 sample return? failure? completed 52 lunar orbits then crash-landed Luna-16.jpg 1969-058A
Zond 7 Soviet Union USSR 11 August 1969 flyby success returned to soft landing on Earth Zond L1 drawing.png 1969-067A
Cosmos 300 Soviet Union USSR 23 September 1969 sample return failure failed to escape Earth orbit Luna-16.jpg 1969-080A
Cosmos 305 Soviet Union USSR 22 October 1969 sample return failure failed to escape Earth orbit Luna-16.jpg 1969-092A
Luna 1970A Soviet Union USSR 6 February 1970 sample return? failure launch vehicle failure Luna-16.jpg [22]
Luna 1970B Soviet Union USSR 19 February 1970 orbiter? failure launch vehicle failure Luna-22.jpg [23]
Luna 16 Soviet Union USSR 20 September 1970 sample return success first robotic sample return Luna-16.jpg 1970-072A
Zond 8 Soviet Union USSR 24 October 1970 flyby success returned to soft landing on Earth Zond L1 drawing.png 1970-088A
Luna 17 Soviet Union USSR 17 November 1970 –
4 October 1971
lander success deployed rover Lunakod landing bus-Luna17.jpg 1970-095A
   Lunokhod 1 rover success first robotic rover; travelled over 10 km 1970-095D

1971–1976[edit]

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Luna 18 Soviet Union USSR 11 September 1971 lander/sample return? failure crashed into Moon Luna-16.jpg 1971-073A
Luna 19 Soviet Union USSR 3 October 1971 –
October 1972
orbiter success Luna-22.jpg 1971-082A
Luna 20 Soviet Union USSR 21 February 1972 sample return success second successful robotic sample return Luna-16.jpg 1972-007A
Soyuz L3 Soviet Union USSR 23 November 1972 orbiter failure launch failure Soyuz TMA-7 spacecraft2edit1.jpg [24]
Luna 21 Soviet Union USSR 15 January 1973 –
May 1973?
lander success deployed rover Lunakod landing bus-Luna17.jpg 1973-001A
   Lunokhod 2 rover success second robotic rover; travelled 37 km
Explorer 49 United States NASA 15 June 1973 –
June 1975
orbiter success radio astronomy observations; last US lunar mission until 1994 IMP-E.jpg 1973-039A
Mariner 10 United States NASA November 1973 flyby success en route to Venus and Mercury Mariner 10.jpg 1973-085A
Luna 22 Soviet Union USSR 2 June 1974 –
November 1974
orbiter success Luna-22.jpg 1974-037A
Luna 23 Soviet Union USSR 6 November 1974 sample return failure damaged on landing, sample return failed 1974-084A
Luna 1975A Soviet Union USSR 16 October 1975 sample return failure failed to reach Earth orbit [25]
Luna 24 Soviet Union USSR 18 August 1976 sample return success third and final successful sample return in Luna programme 1976-081A

1983–1998[edit]

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
ICE (formerly ISEE-3) United States NASA 22 December 1983 flyby success gravity assist en route to comet flybys ISEE-3.gif 1978-079A
Hiten Japan ISAS March 1990 – October 1991 flyby (approached 10 times) success in Moon-crossing Earth orbit from January 1990, later transferred to lunar orbit after failure of Hagoromo; intentionally impacted on Moon at end of mission; first Japanese probe to enter lunar orbit Hiten.gif 1990-007A
February 1992 – April 1993 orbiter success
   Hagoromo Japan ISAS March 1990 orbiter failure released by Hiten into lunar orbit, but transmitter failed and orbit never confirmed
GEOTAIL Japan ISAS / United StatesNASA September 1992 – November 1994 flyby (approached 14 times) success gravity assist en route magnetotail around L2 / finally deployed into high Earth orbit [26]
WIND United States NASA 1 December 1994 and 27 December 1994 flyby success gravity assists en route to Earth–Sun L1 Lagrangian point Wind probe.jpg 1994-071A
Clementine United States BMDO/
No image.svg NASA
February – June 1994 orbiter partial success lunar and Earth observations and component testing; planned Geographos flyby failed Clementine Deployed.png 1994-004A
HGS-1 Hughes Global Services May/June 1998 errant communications satellite, flew within 6,200 kilometers of Moon during orbit correction manoeuvres 1997-086A
Lunar Prospector United States NASA January 1998 –
July 1999
orbiter success lunar surface mapping; intentionally impacted into polar crater at end of mission to test for liberation of water vapour (not detected) Lunar Prospector orbiter.jpg 1998-001A
Nozomi Japan ISAS 24 September 1998 flyby success gravity assists on planned mission to Mars 1998-041A
18 December 1998 flyby success

2001–2009[edit]

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
WMAP United States NASA 30 July 2001 flyby success gravity assist en route to Earth–Sun L2 Lagrangian point WMAP2.jpg 2001-027A
SMART-1 Not the esa logo.png ESA 13 November 2004 –
3 September 2006
orbiter success technology testbed and lunar geological studies; intentionally impacted at end of mission; first European probe to orbit the Moon 2003-043C
STEREO A United States NASA 15 December 2006 flyby success gravity assist to enter a heliocentric orbit STEREO spacecraft.gif 2006-047A
STEREO B United States NASA 15 December 2006 and 21 January 2007 flyby success gravity assists to enter a heliocentric orbit 2006-047B
SELENE
(Kaguya)
Japan JAXA 3 October 2007 – 10 June 2009 orbiter success mineralogical, geographical, magnetic and gravitational observations H-IIA F13 launching KAGUYA.jpg 2007-039A
Okina
(Relay Star)
9 October 2007 – 12 February 2009 Kaguya subsatellite success relay for Kaguya's Far Side operations
Ouna
(VRAD)
12 October 2007 – 29 June 2009 Kaguya subsatellite success (still in orbit) Very Long Baseline Interferometry
Chang'e 1 China CNSA 5 November 2007 – 1 March 2009 orbiter success 3D lunar mapping and geological observations; first Chinese probe to orbit a body besides Earth; impacted to collect data in preparation for future soft landings Chang e 1.jpg 2007-051A [27][28]
Chandrayaan-1 India ISRO 8 November 2008 – 29 August 2009 orbiter partial success high resolution 3D mapping, search water in polar region (first detection of water) and spectral analysis of the Moon's surface and inner compositions Chandrayaan-1.svg 2008-052A [29]
Moon Impact Probe (MIP) 14 November 2008 impactor success test and demonstrate targeting technologies for future soft landings, scientific observation from close range [30]
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter United States NASA 23 June 2009 – orbiter in orbit survey of lunar resources and identification of possible landing sites LRO 2006.jpg 2009-031A
LCROSS United States NASA 23 June 2009 flyby success consisted of the Shepherding Spacecraft and Centaur upper stage (Earth Departure Upper Stage) LCROSS separated.jpg 2009-031B [31]
   LCROSS Shepherding Spacecraft 9 October 2009 impactor success analyzed upper-stage impact plume for traces of water liberated from the Moon's surface
   LCROSS Earth Departure Upper Stage 9 October 2009 impactor success

2010–present[edit]

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Chang'e 2 China CNSA 1 October 2010 – 27 August 2011 orbiter success capture high resolution images of the landing zone for Chang'e 3, measure and analyze composition of the surface 2010-050A [32]
ARTEMIS P1 United States NASA 2 July 2011 – orbiter in orbit to study the effect of the solar wind on the lunar surface ARTEMIS mission.jpg 2007-004B [33]
ARTEMIS P2 United States NASA 17 July 2011 – orbiter in orbit to study the effect of the solar wind on the lunar surface 2007-004C [34]
GRAIL A
(Ebb)
United States NASA 31 December 2011 – 17 December 2012 orbiter success mapped the Moon's gravitational field; intentionally impacted at end of mission GRAIL.jpg 2011-046A [35]
GRAIL B
(Flow)
United States NASA 1 January 2012 – 12 December 2012 orbiter success mapped the Moon's gravitational field; intentionally impacted at end of mission 2011-046B [36]
LADEE United States NASA 6 September 2013 – 8 April 2014 orbiter success designed to study the lunar exosphere and dust LADEE illustration over moon's surface.jpg 2013-047A
Chang'e 3 China CNSA 1 December 2013 –
2016?
lander success soft-landed on the Moon and deployed Yutu rover on 14 December 2013 2013-070A [37]
   Yutu rover success survived multiple lunar nights, became immobile 42 days after landing 2013-070C
Chang'e 5-T1 China CNSA 28 October 2014 flyby success Technology demonstrator for Chang'e 5 mission; after separating the Xiaofei reentry capsule, the service module eventually entered lunar orbit to conduct rendezvous exercises 2014-065A [38]
10 January 2015 – orbiter in progress
Manfred Memorial Moon Mission (private) October 2014 flyby success privately funded payload attached to a Long March 3C rocket third stage; its dosimeter measured ionizing radiation in space. [39][40]
TESS United StatesNASA 17 May 2018 flyby success gravity assist to achieve a lunar resonant high Earth orbit Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite artist concept (transparent background).png 2018-038A
Queqiao China CNSA 25 May 2018 flyby success gravity assist en route to Earth–Moon L2 Lagrangian point to act as relay for Chang'e 4 lunar far side lander QUEQIAO
Longjiang-1 China HIT 25 May 2018 orbiter failure malfunctioned after launch, became flyby 2018-045B
Longjiang-2 China HIT 25 May 2018 – orbiter in progress Very Long Baseline Interferometry 2018-045C

Future[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]