Luna 9: The First Soft Landing on Another Planetary Body

The first spacecraft to achieve a survivable soft-landing on the moon was the Soviet unmanned spacecraft Luna 9. It was an exceedingly difficult milestone to reach, because making a soft landing required incredible precision. Luna 9 was also the first spacecraft to transmit photographic data from the Moon's surface to Earth. The probe also proved that the lunar surface could support the weight of a lander and that an object would not sink into a loose layer of dust as some experts had predicted.

Luna 9

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Luna 9 on the lunar surface. Artwork by Dan Beaumont/Flickr


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