NASA LRO Image: Luna 24 Sitting On The Lunar Surface

Luna 24 landed on the northwestern rim of a 64 m diameter impact crater, on the volcanic plains of Mare Crisium. Enlargement of lander at lower left, NAC M174868307L [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Three Soviet missions (Luna 16, Luna 20, and Luna 24) successfully collected and returned pieces of the lunar surface. Before the successful Luna 24 sample return mission in August 1976, Luna 23 was sent two years earlier (November 1974) to nearly the same location in Mare Crisium, but was unsuccessful.

Luna 24 landed in Mare Crisium on 18 August 1976 to complete the unfinished mission of Luna 23. The landing sites of Luna 23 and 24 are only 2.3 km apart. The region of Mare Crisium where they landed is a typical smooth mare surface with little relief in the immediate vicinity. There are numerous secondary craters scattered across the region, and Luna 24 landed on the edge of one of these. The secondary craters are the result of an impact to the northeast of the landing site, perhaps from the crater Giordano Bruno.

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