NASA’s trip to the Moon’s surface in July 1969 was preceded by a lot of preparatory missions — including Apollo 10, which involved a mock mission with all but the actual landing. Astronauts Thomas Stafford and Eugene Carman flew a lunar module, even nicknamed “Snoopy” by the agency, not quite all the way into the Moon during Apollo 10, and then shot the module off to space once they’kindly finished their task.
There was no intention to come back Snoopy into Earth — that it was sent to an orbit around sunlight beyond the Moon after the astronauts completed their maneuvers and returned into the command section, and NASA failed to track its own trajectory. The time and effort to detect its own location began in 2011, performed by a group of amateur U. K. astronomers headed by Nick Howes — exactly the same that claim they’re “98 percent convinced” they’ve discovered where it wound up, according to Sky News. Howes’ further theorized that when they confirm its own location, some body like Elon Musk can recover it and preserve it as a key cultural artifact.
Apollo 10 was the fourth largest crewed mission in NASA’s Apollo Program, plus it involved flying the lunar part into within 8.5 miles of the Moon’s surface — everything up to the last landing sequence at which the module would function its powered descent. In maintaining the “Peanuts” motif, the command module for the mission is known as “Charlie Brown. ”
Notably, the gas tanks utilized in this mission weren’t supplied enough gas to go back from the Moon’s surface — an intentional limitation levied in case the astronauts flying the test run were tempted to jump the queue and eventually become the first people to walk on the lunar surface, even ahead of Apollo 1-1 ’s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.