SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Soviet experiments on lunar soil. The first Soviet mission to return a sample of lunar soil to the Earth was Luna 16, which landed back on Earth on 24 September 1970. This was the first return of lunar soil by a robotic probe. The first samples of lunar rock and soil had been obtained by US astronauts on the Apollo 11 and 12 missions in 1969. Lunar samples are only handled indirectly using special tools. Here, members of the USSR Academy of Sciences are carrying out the work.
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