Luna 17 and Lunokhod 1

Luna 17The Soviet Union launches unmanned space probe Luna 17 toward the moon, carrying with it the first automated moon rover, Lunokhod 1. Solar-powered and deployed to the surface via a pair of ramps, the wheeled rover operates for eleven months, more than double the expected operational life span. Unlike Luna 16, Luna 17 and Lunokhod perform their studies of the lunar surface without returning any soil samples to Earth.