Viking 2
September 3, 1976

  Image of Mars from Viking 2
 

Viking 2 lander settles down at Utopia Planitia. Along with Viking 1 orbiter, Viking 2 orbiter studies the Martian atmosphere and images the entire planet at what was then high resolution. Viking 2 orbiter also flies within 22 kilometers (13.7 miles) of Deimos and takes high-resolution pictures of this smaller of the two moons of Mars.

The Viking mission reveals further details of volcanoes, lava plains, huge canyons and the effects of wind and water. Analysis of the soils at the landing sites shows them to be rich in iron, but devoid of any signs of life.

The mission was planned to continue for 90 days after landing. However, both orbiters and landers operate far beyond their design lifetime. Viking Orbiter 1 functions until July 25, 1978, while Viking Orbiter 2 continues for four years and 1,489 orbits of Mars, concluding its mission August 7, 1980. The last data from Viking Lander 2 arrived at Earth on April 11, 1980. Viking Lander 1 made its final transmission to Earth November 11, 1982.

See also: National Space Science Data Center

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