Goals: The Luna 16 lander was to drill out a sample core from the Moon's surface and return it to Earth.
Accomplishments: This was the first successful Soviet sample return, and the first fully robotic sample return of any nation. The Luna 16 lander drilled to a depth of 35 mm before hitting rock, withdrew the core sample and sealed it in a small spherical capsule for return to Earth. The capsule, containing more than 100 grams of lunar soil, landed safely in Kazakhstan 12 days after the initial launch from Earth. The dark, powdery basalt material was found to be very similar to that obtained from another mare site by Apollo 12. It differed slightly from Apollo 11's samples in the levels of titanium and zirconium oxide.