Mission Type: Lander
Launch Vehicle: Modified SS-6 (Sapwood) with second-generation upper stage + escape stage; 8K78M (no. N103-45)
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), USSR; NIIP-5 / launch site 1
Spacecraft Mass: 1,620 kg at launch, 112 kg surface capsule
Spacecraft Instruments: 1) TV cameras; 2) infrared radiometer; 3) penetrometer; 4) radiation densitometer; and 5) radiation detector
Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000, Monographs in Aerospace History No. 24, by Asif A. Siddiqi
National Space Science Data Center, http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/
Solar System Log by Andrew Wilson, published 1987 by Jane's Publishing Co. Ltd.
Luna 13 became the second Soviet spacecraft to successfully soft-land on the surface of the Moon. The probe landed in the Ocean of Storms at 18:01 UT on 24 December 1966, between the Krafft and Seleucus craters at 18°52' north latitude and 62°3' west longitude.
Unlike its predecessor, the heavier Luna 13 lander (113 kilograms) carried a suite of scientific instruments in addition to the usual imaging system. A three-axis accelerometer within the pressurized frame of the lander recorded the landing forces during impact to determine the soil structure down to a depth of 20 to 30 centimeters. A pair of spring-loaded booms was also deployed. Both were equipped with titanium-tipped rods that were driven into the ground with a powerful force by small explosive charges to measure soil density (found at roughly 0.8 grams per cubic centimeter).
Four radiometers recorded infrared radiation from the surface, indicating a noon temperature of about 117°C, while a radiation detector indicated that radiation levels would be less than hazardous for humans. The lander returned a total of five panoramas of the lunar surface, showing a smoother terrain than seen by Luna 9.
One of the two cameras (intended to return stereo images) failed, but this did not diminish the quality of the photographs. After a fully successful mission, contact was lost at 06:13 UT on 28 December when the onboard batteries were exhausted.