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Soviets collect moon rock Soviets collect moon rock
by The Ovi Team
2022-09-20 07:11:09
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luna01_01September 20th 1970; The Russian space probe, Luna 16, landed on the Moon to collect samples from its surface. For the first time an unmanned probe was been used to bring objects back to Earth from space. The probe landed at the Sea of Fertility, a region which has not yet been explored. It collected samples of rock and dust using an electric drill at the end of a mechanical extendable arm to cut small cores from just under the topsoil. In addition to the drills, the probe was also equipped with a television camera.

The description of the mission, provided by the Soviet official news agency, Tass, reveals Soviet scientists have developed a highly advanced apparatus. The news agency said the probe would "explore the moon and near-moon space". The probe is expected to spend about 26 hours on the surface of the Moon before Soviet scientists send the signal for it to return to Earth. It is the first time an attempt has been made to fire a spacecraft back to Earth by remote control. Luna 16 is the second Soviet attempt to return samples from the Moon: the first, Luna 15, provoked widespread controversy when it was launched just three days before Apollo 11 landed on the Moon. The mission was a failure and the probe crashed into the Moon just a few hours after Neil Armstrong stepped on to the Sea of Tranquillity.

The successful landing of Luna 16 revived the debate over the need to send men to the Moon in order to explore its surface. The Soviet Union had long argued that many complicated space experiments can be carried out with automatic devices, without risking the lives of men. One Soviet scientist writing in the Communist Party newspaper, Pravda, commented that unmanned space probes cost between one-twentieth and one-fiftieth of the equivalent manned flights.

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