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Luna 20

Luna 20 (Ye-8-5 series) was an unmanned space mission of the Luna program, also called Lunik 20. Luna 20 was placed in an intermediate Earth parking orbit and from this orbit was sent towards the Moon. It entered lunar orbit on February 18, 1972. On February 21, 1972, Luna 20 soft landed on the Moon in a mountainous area known as the Apollonius highlands near Mare Fecunditatis (Sea of Fertility), 120 km from where Luna 16 had landed. While on the lunar surface, the panoramic television system was operated. Lunar samples were obtained by means of an extendable drilling apparatus. The ascent stage of Luna 20 was launched from the lunar surface on 22 February 1972 carrying 55 grams of collected lunar samples in a sealed capsule. It landed in the Soviet Union on 25 February 1972. The lunar samples were recovered the following day.