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> Wow, without parachutes, how did they land that thing?

Erm... parachutes work through friction generating air resistance. There is no air on the moon so parachutes don't do anything. They'd be pointless encumbrance.

Much like apollo, the Luna landers used retrorockets (or tried to, anyway, all attempts resulted in surface crashes until Luna 16)

> Looks like a ancient ancestor of Spirit/Opportunity.

Pretty much, and prefiguring Spirit/Opportunity Lunokhod 1's mission was intended to last 3 lunar days (a bit under 3 earth months) and went through 11 instead (the mission clocked in at 322 earth days)

Your comment incorrectly states that Luna 1 to Luna 15 crashed into the Moon. Luna 16 was not the first to successfully soft land and not all crashes were accidents. Only 6 of the 14 Luna missions intended to soft-land on the moon actually crashed. (There were a lot more Luna missions in total, some were not supposed to try soft-landing, and some failed to even reach Moon orbit.)

For those who are interested in Space trivia:

According to Wikipedia[0], Luna 2 intentionally crasheded into the Moon, making it the first human-made object to land on it. Luna 5, 7, 8 failed to soft-land, making Luna 9 the first object to soft-land on the Moon. Luna 10, 11, 12 and 14 were designed to orbit the Moon and crash into it after they failed. Luna 13 successfully landed on the Moon.

Luna 15 was supposed to bring back soil samples, but it crashed into the Moon as well. (More space race trivia: It was supposed to bring back lunar soil samples before Apollo 11 returned to Earth. Armstrong and Aldrin were on the surface of the Moon when Luna 15 impacted.)

Luna 16 was the first unmanned probe to successfully land on the Moon and return a soil sample (which is an event even rarer than manned moon landings).

Luna 17, which carried the Lunokhod 1 roboter mentioned in the artcile landed successfully as well.

Luna 18 (another planned soil return) crashed, Luna 19 successfully orbited the Moon for a year and later crashed into the Moon.

Luna 21 also soft-landed carrying Lunokhod 2, the second roboter mentioned in the article.

Luna 22 and Luna 23 were also soil return probes, but Luna 22 crashed and Luna 23 damaged the return probe on landing (the landing was a soft-landing though).

Luna 20 and 24 both successfully landed on the Moon and returned to Earth with soil samples, making Luna 24 the last man-made object to return from the Moon to Earh.

0: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_man-made_objects_on_the...

> Your comment incorrectly states that Luna 1-15 crashed into the moon.

Not exactly. It incorrectly states that all luna landers (therefore landing attempts) resulted in crashes, not that all luna missions preceding 16 were or contained landers.

Thank you for the correction on 9 and 13, though, I had forgotten about them.

My bad, I misread your comment as "It took 15 tries to land on the moon".

Fair enough. No harm done.

"return a soil sample (which is an event even rarer than manned moon landings)"

Assuming that rarer isn't the right word, mind clarifying the point you were making? (Genuinely interested rather than being pedantic.)

Event A: Manned Moon landing

Event B: Unmanned probe landing on the moon and returing soil samples

Event A is rare and happened 6 times (Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17), event B happened 3 times. Thus event B is even rarer(?) than event A.

I am not a native speaker, can you please tell me the correct word to use in place of "rarer"?

I'm sorry, your English was fine, my brain just wasn't turned on and I misread what you wrote, and indeed what I quoted you as saying. Apologies!

That's what I meant about "without parachutes" - that they couldn't use them without atmosphere.

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