Soviet Union — Roscosmos
Luna 23: Lunar Landing

Mission Details

Mission Name: Luna 23
Mission Type: Lunar Lander
Operator: Soviet Union (Roscosmos)
Launching State: Soviet Union/Russia
Location: Mare Crisium
Latitude: 12.6667
Longitude: 62.1511
Launch Date: 28 October 1974, 14:30:32 UT
Landing Date: 6 November 1974
Objects on or Related to Site:
Luna 23
Image Source: NASA


Luna 23 was to drill 2.5 meters below the lunar surface (compared to the 0.3-m depth of the cores sampled by Luna 16 and 20) and return a sample of the soil to Earth.

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Heritage Consideration

The drilling apparatus was damaged during landing, preventing execution of the sample return mission.

Object on or Related to Site

Object Name: Luna 23
Cospar: 1974-084A
Norad: N/A
Location: Precise location unknown or undisclosed.
Launch Date: 28 October 1974, 14:30:32 UT
Landing Date: 6 November 1974
Deployment: N/A
End Date: N/A
Function: Lunar sample return.
Image Source: NASA


Luna 23 was a Moon lander mission which was intended to return a lunar sample to Earth. Launched to the Moon by a Proton SL-12/D-1-e booster, the spacecraft was damaged during landing in Mare Crisium (Sea of Crises) at 12.6669 N, 62.1511 E. The sample collecting apparatus could not operate and no samples were returned. The lander continued transmissions for 3 days after landing. In 1976, Luna 24 landed several hundred meters away and successfully returned samples.

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