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Surveyor 6: The Third Time is the Charm

7 Nov 2017, 13:55 UTC
Surveyor 6: The Third Time is the Charm
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As the old saying goes, “the third time’s the charm”. This is likely an American variation of the British phrase “third time lucky” (which itself is probably derived from the sentiment expressed in a line from the first scene of the fifth act of Shakespeare’s 1602 play, The Merry Wives of Windsor – “…this is the third time; I hope that luck lies in odd numbers”). The saying refers to the casual observation that after trying something twice and failing, it frequently appears that luck will favor you on the third attempt which succeeds. While rational engineers and scientists do not really believe in this form of luck, it must have been in the back of some people’s minds a half century ago as NASA was preparing its sixth Surveyor robotic lunar landing mission formally designated “Surveyor F” before its launch.
Map of the Moon showing the Apollo Landing Zone and the location of the Surveyor landing sites. Click on image to enlarge. (NASA)
Twice before in the Surveyor program, the intended target was nearly in the center of the Moon’s Earth-facing hemisphere in the small mare known as Sinus Medii (Latin for “Central Bay”). Located almost dead center of ...

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