Apr 9, 2019 - Science

Israeli moon landing to mark milestone in lunar exploration

When SpaceIL's Beresheet spacecraft touches down on the moon's Sea of Serenity on Thursday, it will be the 21st mission — and the first privately funded one — to make a soft landing on the lunar surface.

Data: Axios research; Graphic: Harry Stevens/Axios

Details: This graphic shows every moon landing, beginning with the Soviets' Luna 9, which landed on Feb. 3, 1966.

  • It also highlights two other milestones: Apollo 11, the first crewed landing, and Chang'e 4, the first landing on the moon's far side.
  • The timeline beneath the moon shows when each landing occurred, highlighting the 37-year gap between the last Soviet mission in 1976 and the first Chinese one in 2013. It also underscores how lunar exploration is open to new players, not just the US and Russia.
  • The graphic is interactive. You can spin the moon, and you can tap on each mission's dot — either on the moon itself or on the timeline — to learn more information about that mission.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of historical moon landings. There have been 21.

Go deeper