Junkyard on the Moon
In what had to have been among the eeriest sensations ever felt by a human being, Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean took this photograph of astronaut Charles Conrad examining the Lunar Surveyor 3, a craft that landed on the moon nearly two years prior to Bean and Conrad’s own arrival.
A half-century of exploration has left the lunar surface littered with discarded spacecraft, and a bevy of upcoming missions means there’s more moon mess to come.
Man’s exploration of the moon has left behind over 20 tons of probes, rovers, rocket boosters and assorted other detritus scattered around the whole of the lunar surface. The moon has no atmosphere to burn up incoming objects, so once a spacecraft’s orbit decays, it will eventually end up in a pile somewhere on the surface.
The next four lunar probes are to eventually be added to the great lunar junkyard.