Planitia Descensus

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Planitia Descensus (landingsite of Luna 9)

Lat: 7.1°N, Long: 64.4°W, Diam: 0 km, Depth: km, Rükl: 28

external image normal_Planitia_Descensus_LO-IV-162H_LTVT.JPG
LO-IV-162H The crater in the upper left is Cavalerius F.


LPOD Photo Gallery Lunar Orbiter Images

  • Frame 3214, made by Lunar Orbiter 3, shows an oblique view of Planitia Descensus and crater Galilaei in the distance.
  • Apollo 17's NIKON-camera photographs AS17-158-23895 and 23896 show Planitia Descensus near the upper margins of both frames (made in earthlight circumstances).
  • Research Lunar Orbiter 3 and Apollo 17 photography: Danny Caes


(LAC zone 56D2) LAC map Geologic map


This IAU name commemorates the February 3, 1966 landing site of Luna 9, the first spacecraft from Earth to successfully soft-land on the Moon and return images from it. In the Lunar Orbiter image shown here, the official IAU coordinates are marked by a white cross on the peak to the right of center, but the actual landing was in a mare area. Many charts place the Luna 9 landing site in the plain immediately to the left of the cross. However NASA SP-241, which may be more definitive, places it to the right, almost touching the left side of the bright crescent. The position shown in SP-241 is approximately 7.19°N, 64.18°W

Although Planitia means "plain" the name is thought to refer, like Statio Tranquillitatis, to the landing site only, a feature of zero size, and not to the surrounding region.

- Jim Mosher

Description: Wikipedia

Planitia Descensus

Additional Information

  • Luna 9 was the first mission to establish that the lunar surface (at least at that point) could bear the weight of a spacecraft.
  • Robert Christy gives the landing site coordinates as 7.13 degrees north, 60.36 degrees west (the latter, giving a location near Reiner Gamma, is almost certainly a typo).
  • John Walker gives the landing site coordinates as 7.08 degrees north, 64.37 degrees west (a position on the peak, very close to the cross).


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