Luna 5Following two years of aborted or otherwise unsuccessful attempts to launch another robotic lunar lander toward the moon, the Soviet Union sends Luna 5 on its way. Intended to be an automated soft-landing mission, Luna 5 encounters major technical problems as it coasts from Earth to the moon. It does eventually reach the moon, but does so out of control and unable to brake for a survivable landing; the plume of material created by the impact of the 3,000-pound Luna 5 is large enough to be spotted from Earth-based telescopes for several minutes.