Luna 9

Here’s an cool bit of trivia. Today is the 50th anniversary of the landing of the uncrewed Soviet Luna 9 probe on the moon. After 11 previous tries, Luna 9 became the first spacecraft to manage a soft landing (not a crash landing) on the moon, or anyplace other than the earth, actually. It launched on January 31, 1966, made the trip in about three days, touched down on on the moon’s Ocean of Storms (Oceanus Procellarum) on February 3, 1966, and then promptly starting sending back photos and TV footage from the surface. This is the same area of the moon where the US sent some of its Surveyor probes, and landed Pete Conrad and Al Bean aboard Apollo 12 in November 1969. The US and the Soviets were fighting the cold war and racing to the moon. It’s amazing how these little steps added up and ultimately got people there.

Here’s the Wikipedia page about Luna 9, if you want to read more.

 

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