Pin about the Luna 16 1970 moon mission.
In 1970 Luna 16 was the first robotic probe to land on the Moon and return a sample of lunar soil to Earth. It represented the first lunar sample return mission by the Soviet Union and was the third lunar sample return mission overall, following the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 missions.
Analysis of the dark basalt material indicated a close resemblance to soil recovered by the American Apollo 12 mission.
According to the Bochum Observatory in Germany, strong and good quality television pictures were returned by the spacecraft. Luna 16 was a landmark success for the Soviets in their deep space exploration program; the mission accomplished the first fully automatic recovery of soil samples from the surface of an extraterrestrial body.
Three tiny samples (0.2 grams) of the Luna 16 soil were sold at Sotheby’s auction for $442,500 in 1993.
On November 29, 2018 The Luna 16 fragments sold for US$ 855,000 at Sotheby’s.