Researchers are in search for a long-lost moon lander - the Luna 9 moon probe.
This lander is the first ever probe to successfully land on a body outside of Earth. It landed on the moon on Feb. 3, 1966 with the mission to take images of the moon's surface, which it successfully accomplished.
After almost 50 years, researchers have decided to look for the historical lander with the help of NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). Apart from other missions, it now also has the task to take pictures of the moon's surface in order for researchers to locate a 2-feet-wide, beach ball-like probe that weighs 100 kg (about 220 pounds) on Earth.
"The Luna 9 lander would be small, barely two pixels across in the best images. [Luna 9] landing site was always said to be at about 7.13 degrees north, 64.37 degrees west, based on tracking, but this doesn't fit with the surface photos," said Philip Stooke, an associate professor in the Department of Geography and the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, according to Space.
Jeff Plescia, a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., leads the team that will focus on the search for the lost probe.
"Essentially, what I am doing is to grid up the images that cover the area and go through cell by cell looking to see if I can find something," said Plescia, Space adds.