Planitia Descensus (landingsite of Luna 9)
Lat: 7.1°N, Long: 64.4°W, Diam: 0 km, Depth: km, Rükl: 28
- 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
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
- 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).
- Luna 9 landing site ("plain of descent").
- Called Sinus Adlunationis on the Complete Moon Map of 1969 by the Sternberg Astronomy Institute. Research: Danny Caes
- Jaffe, L. D.; Scott, R. F. 1966 Lunar Surface Strength: Implications of Luna 9 Landing SCIENCE vol. 153, 407-408.