DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Luna 9 landing capsule. Computer illustration of the landing capsule of the Soviet Luna 9 (Lunik 9) space probe unfurled as it was on the surface of the Moon. Luna 9 made the first soft landing on the Moon on 3rd February 1966. It sent back numerous photographs of the lunar surface and allowed measurements to be made of several properties of the surface, such as crater structure and surface cohesiveness. The landing capsule was ejected when the front of the spacecraft touched the lunar surface. It then landed and rolled upright before unfolding its supports. Luna 9 was the third Soviet attempt to make a soft landing on the Moon.
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