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

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    $\begingroup$ 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., ... $\endgroup$
    – Octopus
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ Luna-15 tried to be first with lunar rocks but failed. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna_15 $\endgroup$
    – Heopps
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 17:58
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    $\begingroup$ @DaveBoltman: through the Apollo program. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 11:06
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    $\begingroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ @Octopus Luna 16 flew September 1970, so Apollo 11 beat them in "returning things from the moon". $\endgroup$
    – user71659
    Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 5:19

1 Answer 1


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).


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