# How did the Russians get moon rocks?

I've read somewhere that the Russians have moon rocks. How did they get them?

• The Soviet Union were the first to do many things space related: put an object into space, put a creature into space, put a man into space, land a vehicle on the moon, land a robot on the moon, return things from the moon, etc., etc., ... – Octopus Jul 4 '18 at 16:44
• Luna-15 tried to be first with lunar rocks but failed. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna_15 – Heopps Jul 4 '18 at 17:58
• @DaveBoltman: through the Apollo program. – Hobbes Jul 5 '18 at 11:06
• The main reason this is question is being asked is probably because the Soviet Union never landed a human being on the moon. Before reading the accepted answer, I would have guessed that they simply acquired all of their moon rocks through the US. – Panzercrisis Jul 5 '18 at 14:39
• @Octopus Luna 16 flew September 1970, so Apollo 11 beat them in "returning things from the moon". – user71659 Jul 6 '18 at 5:19

## 1 Answer

The USSR flew three successful automated lunar sample return missions: Luna 16, Luna 20 and Luna 24. The probes landed on the Moon, collected samples, and started a small rocket with the samples back to Earth. The returned mass was very small (101 g, 30 g and 170 g, respectively).

• To complement - USSR also obtained samples of Apollo rocks in exchange for Luna stations samples. Source - livejournal post (in Russian language with massive inserted citations in English) : vakhnenko.livejournal.com/241952.html – Heopps Jul 3 '18 at 12:45
• As detailed in the Wikipedia articles @DarkDust cites, the Luna 16, 20, and 24 missions were flown in the early- to mid-1970's. Worth a look! – Tom Spilker Jul 3 '18 at 17:08
• Thanks everyone that clears things up. I should have searched for lunar rocks – Gabriel Fair Jul 3 '18 at 17:17
• In addition, Nixon sent some of the Apollo moon rocks to the USSR. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_sample_displays ). – David Cary Jul 4 '18 at 15:06
• – uhoh Mar 8 '19 at 3:35