40 Years Ago, Robots Started Doing Our Dirty Work For Us In SpaceSam Biddle9/20/10 8:40pm30EditInvite manuallyPromoteDismissUndismissHideGo to permalinkEarthlings had scored moon rocks before 1970. NASA's Apollo 11 and 12 missions successfully hauled them back to study—immense scientific accomplishments, of course. One problem. It cost $142 billion in today's dollars. Russia's solution? Send a robot instead.