Following on the success of the Ranger 7 mission, which was the first United States spacecraft to photograph the moon up close, Ranger 8 took more than 7,000 high-resolution images of the moon before impacting the lunar surface on February 20, 1965. The lander was part of the series of nine Ranger spacecraft launched in the early 1960s to explore the moon.
Ranger 8 impacted the moon only 24 kilometers from its target in the Sea of Tranquility, an area that was of particular interest to Apollo mission planners. Images from the mission, which detailed the kind of terrain and obstacles that a human explorer might encounter, paved the way for future human exploration of the moon.
- Imaging system