Apollo 12 landed within walking distance of the unmanned Surveyor 3 lander, which had arrived on the moon 2 years earlier. The astronauts photographed and returned parts of Surveyor 3.

The last three Apollo missions included lunar rovers, which allowed much greater travel than on foot. According to a 1972 press brochure from Boeing titled Lunar Roving Vehicle, the maximum round-trip range of the lunar rover was 57 miles (92 km).

Assuming that Apollo 11 to 17 each had a rover and landed in exactly the same place that they actually did, were any of the other unmanned landers which were already on the moon within rover driving distance of an Apollo landing?

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    $\begingroup$ Because of the "Walkback Limit" requirement for LRV operation (i.e. that at all times the astronauts had sufficient consumables remaining to walk back to the LM if the LRV should fail) using the LRV could only double the walking distance. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 23:13

1 Answer 1


A first look at: Moon Landings on Moon Map shows: beside Apollo 12 and Surveyor 3 there is just one candiate: Apollo 11.

Apollo 11 is near Surveyor 5 and Ranger 8.

Have a quick google check for S5:

Less than two years later the first crewed landing, Apollo 11, would land 25 km south-southwest of Surveyor 5.

Source Wikipedia Surveyor 5

And for R8:

This area is about 60 km from the Apollo 11 landing site

Source NASA Ranger Image

(Site Note: although the rover's range was 92 km, the actual travelled distances are much smaller:

A15: Distance covered 27.9 km, largest distance to LM 5 km

A16: Distance covered 26.7 km, largest distance to LM 4.5 km

A17: Distance covered 35.9 km, largest distance to LM 7.6 km Source (german))

(Fun fact: After landing in a total different corner of the moon, Yuto covered a distance of less than 115 m [sic!]. Yellow Press: "No evidence of Apollo landers found by chinease rover")


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