Two wooden spacecraft

This is cute rather than cutting-edge. Apparently Rangers 3 and 5, American ventures from the early 1960s, both missed the moon and are now still in orbit around the sun. The interesting part is that they incorporate a 65cm diameter balsa-wood sphere containing the instrumentation – the idea was to crash land the sphere on the moon, with the balsa-wood absorbing the impact!

Lunar capsule impact limiter construction.
11/1/1960
Requested by: R. Wesnard
Photo by: B. Rowe

The hollow containing the instrumentation was filled with fluid so that the package could float in order to attain right way up.

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