12 May 1965

The Soviet spacecraft Luna 5 crashes on the Moon.

In May 1965, Luna 5 became the first Soviet probe in two years to head for the Moon. Following a May 10 midcourse correction, a problem developed in a flotation gyroscope in the I-100 guidance control unit. Control was lost so the spacecraft began spinning around its main axis.

Ground controllers regained control of the spacecraft, but at the time of the next maneuver the main retrorocket system failed due to a ground control error in calculating the setpoints. As a result, the spacecraft, though still headed for the Moon, was far off its intended landing site. Problems again cropped up with the I-100 unit so a retrorocket burn could not take place and Luna 5 impacted the lunar surface some 430 miles from the target point at about 19:10 UT on May 12, 1965, becoming the second Soviet probe to hit the Moon.

A Soviet announcement gave the impact point as the Sea of Clouds at roughly 31 degrees S, 8 degrees W. Although a later analysis gave a very different estimate of 8 degrees N, 23 degrees W..

Despite failing at its ultimate objective of a soft landing on the Moon’s surface, the spacecraft was a partial success because, unlike its predecessor Luna 4, it successfully performed a midcourse correction.

12 May 1932

The kidnapped infant son of Charles Lindbergh, Charles Jr., is found dead in Hopewell, New Jersey, 10 weeks after being abducted.

Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., 20-month-old son of the famous aviator and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was kidnapped about 9:00 p.m., on March 1, 1932, from the nursery on the second floor of the Lindbergh home near Hopewell, New Jersey. The child’s absence was discovered and reported to his parents, who were then at home, at approximately 10:00 p.m. by the child’s nurse, Betty Gow. A search of the premises was immediately made and a ransom note demanding $50,000 was found on the nursery window sill. After the Hopewell police were notified, the report was telephoned to the New Jersey State Police, who assumed charge of the investigation.

Son of Charles LindberghDuring the search at the kidnapping scene, traces of mud were found on the floor of the nursery. Footprints, impossible to measure, were found under the nursery window. Two sections of the ladder had been used in reaching the window, one of the two sections was split or broken where it joined the other, indicating that the ladder had broken during the ascent or descent. There were no blood stains in or about the nursery, nor were there any fingerprints.

Household and estate employees were questioned and investigated. Colonel Lindbergh asked friends to communicate with the kidnappers, and they made widespread appeals for the kidnappers to start negotiations. Various underworld characters were dealt with in attempts to contact the kidnappers, and numerous clues were advanced and exhausted.

A second ransom note was received by Colonel Lindbergh on March 6, 1932, (postmarked Brooklyn, New York, March 4), in which the ransom demand was increased to $70,000. A police conference was then called by the governor at Trenton, New Jersey, which was attended by prosecuting officials, police authorities, and government representatives. Various theories and policies of procedure were discussed. Private investigators also were employed by Colonel Lindbergh’s attorney, Colonel Henry Breckenridge.