Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Luna 24, last return mission from the moon, launched 1976
Luna 24, launched August 9, 1976, is the last lunar mission that returned to Earth. It was the last lunar launch of the Soviet Lunar program. After take-off, Luna 24 reached the moon 3 days later, and after changes to its orbit, it touched down August 18. It took a sample of the lunar soil and took off from the moon August 19.
Luna 24 entered Earth's atmosphere and landed August 22. It was the last soft-landing on the moon for 37 years until the Chinese probe Chang'e 3 in December 2013.