Year
1964
Month Day
July 31

Ranger 7 photographs moon

Ranger 7, an unmanned U.S. lunar probe, takes the first close-up images of the moon—4,308 in total—before it impacts with the lunar surface northwest of the Sea of Clouds. The images were 1,000 times as clear as anything ever seen through earth-bound telescopes.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had attempted a similar mission earlier in the year—Ranger 6—but the probe’s cameras had failed as it descended to the lunar surface. Ranger 7, launched from Earth on July 28, successfully activated its cameras 17 minutes, or 1,300 miles, before impact and began beaming the images back to NASA’s receiving station in California. The pictures showed that the lunar surface was not excessively dusty or otherwise treacherous to a potential spacecraft landing, thus lending encouragement to the NASA plan to send astronauts to the moon. 

In July 1969, two Americans walked on the moon in the first Apollo Program lunar landing mission.

READ MORE: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Timeline: From Liftoff to Splashdown

Tags
terms:
SpaceMoon

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order, dies

Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order of Roman Catholic missionaries and educators, dies in Rome. The Society of Jesus, as the Jesuit order is formally known, played an important role in the Counter-Reformation and eventually succeeded in converting millions around the ...read more

Labor leader Jimmy Hoffa is reported missing

On the morning of July 31, 1975, James Riddle Hoffa, one of the most influential American labor leaders of the 20th century, is officially reported missing after he failed to return home the previous night. Though he is popularly believed to have been the victim of a Mafia hit, ...read more

Hurricane sinks Spanish treasure ships

A hurricane strikes the east coast of Florida, sinking 10 Spanish treasure ships and killing nearly 1,000 people, on July 31, 1715. All of the gold and silver onboard at the time would not be recovered until 250 years later. From 1701, Spain sent fleets of ships to the ...read more

Marquis de Lafayette becomes a major-general without pay

On July 31, 1777, a 19-year-old French aristocrat, Marie-Joseph Paul Roch Yves Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, accepts a commission as a major-general in the Continental Army—without pay. During his service as the Continental Congress’ secret envoy to France, Silas Deane ...read more

Third Battle of Ypres begins in Flanders

On July 31, 1917, the Allies launch a renewed assault on German lines in the Flanders region of Belgium, in the much-contested region near Ypres, during World War I. The attack begins more than three months of brutal fighting, known as the Third Battle of Ypres. While the first ...read more

Preparations for the Final Solution begin

On July 31, 1941, Hermann Göring, writing under instructions from Hitler, ordered Reinhard Heydrich, SS general and Heinrich Himmler’s number-two man, “to submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying ...read more