Viking 1

Mission Summary

The first spacecraft to successfully land on Mars, Viking 1 was part of a two-part mission to investigate the Red Planet and search for signs of life. Viking 1 consisted of both an orbiter and a lander designed to take high-resolution images, and study the Martian surface and atmosphere.

Operating on Mars' Chryse Planitia for more than six years, Viking 1 performed the first Martian soil sample using its robotic arm and a special biological laboratory. While it found no traces of life, Viking 1 did help better characterize Mars as a cold planet with volcanic soil, a thin, dry carbon dioxide atmosphere and strking evidence for ancient river beds and vast flooding.

Scientific Instrument(s)

- Orbiter:
- Imaging system
- Atmospheric water detector
- Infrared thermal mapper

Lander:
- Imaging system
- Gas chromatograph mass spectrometer
- Seismometer
- X-ray fluorescence spectrometer
- Biological laboratory
- Weather instrument package
- Remote sampler arm

Aeroshell:
- Retarding potential analyzer
- Upper-atmosphere mass spectrometer


Type: Lander/Rover, Orbiter
 
Status: Past
 
Launch Date: August 20, 1975
5:22 p.m. EDT (21:22 UTC)
 
Launch Location: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
 
Landing Date: July 20, 1976
11:53 UTC
 
Mission End Date: November 13, 1982
 
Target: Mars
 
Destination: Chryse Planitia, Mars
 
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