Landing on the Moon, Venus, and Mars
The Soviets reached the zenith of their success at the Moon with robotic missions in 1970 and 1971. In September 1970 the Luna 16 mission successfully returned a sample of the Moon to Earth; an impressive achievement still unmatched by the US. In November the Luna 17 mission successfully deployed the first robotic rover on the Moon, Lunokhod 1; another achievement unmatched by the US. An attempt at sample return in September 1971 failed when communications were lost as Luna 18 was landing. It was followed immediately by Luna 19, a successful orbiter version of the spacecraft. Luna 20 became the second successful sample return mission in February 1972.
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