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Luna 23 and Luna 24

Luna 23 and Luna 24

NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University

Luna 23 and Luna 24
A mosaic of two Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera images solves a longstanding puzzle in lunar exploration: just how close together did the Soviet sample return missions Luna 23 and Luna 24 land? Both were sent to Mare Crisium. Luna 23 was damaged during its landing on November 6, 1974 and failed to collect any samples, though it did return data for three days. Luna 24 landed nearby on August 22, 1976, collecting 170 grams of dust and rocks and returning them to Earth. But the landing locations were never very well constrained until now. These photos reveal the two landers to be well separated at about 2,400 meters apart. Furthermore, they show Luna 24 to be located on the edge of a small crater, meaning that its samples came from the crater's ejecta blanket. Original image

Most NASA images are in the public domain. Reuse of this image is governed by NASA's image use policy.

Original image data dated on or about January 30, 2010

Explore related images: pics of spacecraft in space, pretty pictures, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Moon, Soviet lunar missions

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