25 March 65 : A crash into the moon : Cincinatti, USA

This continues the letter dated 23rd of March 1965, which simply began: 

Dear Family,

Thursday 25th March

Yesterday we saw some amazing pictures on TV, live from the moon. They were being transmitted from the rocket which was due to hit the moon yesterday morning. The pictures we saw came live from the rocket, and we saw the last 12 minutes before impact.

I expect you have seen them by now, but we thought they were terrific. They showed the audience in the TV studio, who were watching it on TV sets and these were the people who had worked on the project from the start, and they really went wild.

Live from the Moon – Impact! Open source footage from Nasa captioned: On March 24, 1965, a nationwide TV audience watched live video from Ranger 9 as it purposefully crashed into the Moon within the crater Alphonsus. Ranger’s six cameras sent back more than 5800 video images during the last 18 minutes of its 3-day journey, the last of the Ranger Project. The last few images show the lunar surface in detail from a few hundred meters above.

Yesterday afternoon we had to drive to Indianapolis to get some empty boxes, it’s about 105 miles with a super highway all the way, it shouldn’t have taken as long but we ran into a terrific blizzard, and it was a nightmare journey. We didn’t get back until very late, and I was exhausted having driven on the return journey. By the time we reached Cincinnati the snow had changed to freezing rain, which made things even worse.

The temperature has dropped right down again and it’s very cold. It’s very odd weather here, although we get very little rain. I think I can count the number of times it has rained since we have been here on one hand.

Next week we are going north to Springfield, Ohio, for about a week. It’s not very far – about a hundred miles, I think!

We have had to cancel our trip to Niagara Falls yet again due to the weather, which up there is pretty bad. It’s very frustrating, but we will definitely get there sooner or later by hook or by crook. We are anxious to see it while it is still winter as the falls are frozen, and it is supposed to be very beautiful.

By the way Mum, I know that at home Sunday is Mothering Sunday. I was going to send you a card, but they don’t have Mothering Sundays here, and I couldn’t find anything suitable, so please don’t think I have forgotten you, because I haven’t.

Although Colin is phoning his mother on Sunday, it is not because it is Mothering Sunday, but because it is her birthday (yesterday) and because Sunday is the most convenient day for him. I plan to phone you on your birthday in June – (I will let you know later the exact time and date) so that is something for you to look forward to (I hope). Anyway, in the meantime have a very happy Mothering Sunday, and remember that I shall be thinking of you very much.

Tonight (Thursday) we have been ice skating at the Cincinnati Garden Ice Skating Rink, and it was great. The ice was great, and although I say it myself I am becoming very proficient. I can even go backwards now.

We haven’t done any work today as there hasn’t been any to do. So we had the day off, which suited us very nicely.

To be continued… 

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Note: You can watch the genuinely unmissable footage of Ranger 9’s last moments as it plummeted to the moon’s surface HERE

On 24 March 1965, millions of Americans were glued to their televisions to watch the ground-breaking 15-minute live broadcast from the Ranger 9 moon lander as it hurtled 1,468 miles (2,363 km) into the moon’s surface.  

The so-called ‘kamikaze’ space probe was destroyed as it crashed headlong into the pock-marked crater Alphonsus – recording every second of its last journey.

While previous Kamikaze missions could only take photographs, Ranger 9 was able to broadcast live video footage into homes around the world. The video cut out when the craft was just two-tenths of a second from impact.

With thanks to the BBC’s On This Day In History article. 


An artist’s impression of Ranger 9 on impact. By Goddard Space Flight Center – Open source at https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1554950

2 thoughts on “25 March 65 : A crash into the moon : Cincinatti, USA

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