Sept. 14, 1959 Never mind a 37,000-mile flyby, the Russians managed a bull's-eye when their unmanned Lunik 2 probe landed in the moon's Sea of Serenity. "Landed" is a loose term; once Lunik 2 reached the gravity sphere of the moon, all it really did was plummet. On the way down, though, it beamed back data showing that the moon has a magnetic field something scientists had not known. The ship also carried a commemorative coin with a Soviet pennant stamped into it, which Nikita Khrushchev never tired of crowing about. "The Soviet pennant has been awaiting an American pennant for a long time," he would say afterward. "It is starting to become lonesome." The truth was, there probably wasn't much of the little artifact left. Spacecraft that strike the moon hit with such force that they are melted or vaporized. The coin, at best, was now a blob.