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‘Lost and Gone Forever’: Remembering Clementine’s Return to the Moon, 25 Years On

25 Jan 2019, 12:26 UTC
‘Lost and Gone Forever’: Remembering Clementine’s Return to the Moon, 25 Years On NASA/U.S. Geological Survey

When a returning Falcon 9 first stage plunged back to Earth and alighted at Landing Zone (LZ)-4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., last October—wrapping up SpaceX’s first return-to-launch-site on the West Coast—it did so on a patch of ground used a quarter-century earlier to launch the Clementine spacecraft to the Moon. Excluding Mariner 10, which performed a flyby of our closest celestial neighbor in late 1973, it was the United States’ first dedicated lunar mission since the end of the Apollo era.

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