42 years of the last Soviet lunar mission

August 9, 1976. The automatic station Luna-24 was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome. Nine days later she carried out a soft landing on the moon in the southeastern region of the Sea of ​​Crises and took a sample of the lunar regolith. Then the take-off stage of the station took off from the moon. August 22, a capsule with a column of lunar soil landed in the Tyumen region.
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Luna-24 was the last Soviet station launched to the moon. Soon after its landing, the leadership of the USSR abolished the Luna-25 mission, which was to deliver the third lunar rover to the moon. Intended for the station of the rocket was given under a different launch, while the lunar rover remained on Earth. He is now on display at the NPO Museum. Lavochkin. It is unlikely that at that time the participants in the Soviet lunar program of the program could imagine that the USSR would never launch a single vehicle to the Moon.
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Delivered "Luna-24" column of lunar soil
"Luna-24" marked not only the end of the Soviet lunar program, but also a significant break in the study of the moon. The 1980s became a “lost” decade in lunar explorations.During this period of time, not a single new station was launched to the Moon. Only in 1990, Japan, which then tried to try on the status of a third space power, sent the Khiten apparatus to the Moon.
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Landing site "Luna-24" eyes of the apparatus LRO
A soft landing on the surface of the moon had to wait even longer. It was carried out in 2013 by the Chinese apparatus Chang'e-3, which delivered the landing platform and the Yuytu lunar rover to the lunar surface. Now the Middle Kingdom will have to repeat one more “last” achievement of the “Moon-24”. Next year, the Chinese station Chang'e-5 will have to deliver to Earth the first in 43 years new sample of lunar soil.

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