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Luna 13
Luna 13 Mission to Earth's Moon

Goals: Luna 13 was to land on Moon and characterize the lunar surface.

Accomplishments: Like January's Luna 9, December's Luna 13 came to a rough but survivable landing in the Ocean of Storms region of the Moon. The scientific capsule was ejected less than one second before the main spacecraft crashed at 30 km/h. Equipped with instruments its predecessor did not carry, Luna 13 not only returned 5 panoramic photos of the landscape at different sun angles, but also measured the soil's physical and mechanical properties and its radiation characteristics. One of the two cameras intended to create stereo images failed, but the pictures the working camera provided were good.

Key Dates
21 Dec 1966:  Launch
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
Luna 13 Facts Luna 13 was the Soviet Union's second successful unmanned lunar landing.

It was the last mission in the U.S.S.R.'s first phase of lunar exploration.

The next successful Soviet lunar lander would be the robotic sample-return mission, Luna 16 (pictured), in 1970 -- a year after NASA's Apollo 11 and 12 astronaut landings.
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Last Updated: 29 Nov 2010