Jodrell Bank captures the first ever pictures taken from the surface of the Moon.

Jodrell Bank has a long connection with the Moon. Not only did it capture the 1969 Moon landing, but 3 years earlier, the Jodrell Bank scientists also intercepted the first ever pictures taken from the surface of the Moon!

One 3 February 1966, the Soviet Luna 9 became the first spacecraft to land safely on the Moon. The probe and its carrier rocket had been tracked by Jodrell Bank since its launch in Kazakhstan on 31 January that year.

After landing the signals stopped, and then started again, only now they were different because they were from an on-board camera. A fax machine could decode these signals for the scientists but they were very rare at the time. Luckily, the local offices of the Daily Express in nearby Macclesfield had one and were able to rush it over to Jodrell Bank. The signals received the next day were played through the fax machine, producing the first ever pictures taken on the surface of the Moon.

The pictures of the lunar surface were headline news on 4 February and made the front pages of the Daily Express Newspaper the following day.