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THIS DAY IN HISTORY JANUARY 31 1966 : Luna 9, the first spacecraft to soft-land on the Moon. It was launched by the Soviet Union January 31, 1966, and returned photographs of the lunar surface for three days.
Any of a series of unmanned Soviet lunar probes. Luna 2 (launched Sept. 12, 1959) was the first spacecraft to strike the Moon, and Luna 3 (Oct. 4, 1959) made the first circumnavigation of the Moon …