Last week, NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) ended its mission as planned, by smashing into the far side of the moon. But even though LADEE is deceased, it's not alone. Other spacecraft — including parts of some we might not know about — share the same resting place.

"The total is six so far, and no landers, says Philip Stooke, a space-mapping expert at the University of Western Ontario, who documents planetary exploration. "Nothing has ever landed on the far side."

As reporter Leonard David notes, five of those spacecraft were launched by the United States. The sixth, Okina, was one of the little sub-satellites of the Japanese Kaguya mission that orbited the moon from September 2007 to June 2009.


Stooke has produced a map of all known far-side impacts. However:

Stooke said that there could be others, since no one knows the crash sites of some hardware—for example, the Apollo 10 Lunar Module (LM) descent stage; the Apollo 11 and 16 LM ascent stages; the Apollo 15 sub-satellite; and the former Soviet Union's Luna 11, 12, 14, 19 and 22 missions. In addition, there's India's Chandrayaan 1 and another sub-satellite ejected during Japan's Kaguya mission.