History-Making Mars Mission Launched 35 Years Ago

This is the first photograph ever taken on the surface of the planet Mars. This is the first photograph ever taken on the surface of the planet Mars. It was obtained by Viking 1 just minutes after the spacecraft landed successfully on July 20, 1976.
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August 20, 2010

Thrust from a Titan 3/Centaur rocket launched NASA's Viking 1 spacecraft on a 505-million-mile journey to Mars on Aug. 20, 1975. Viking 2 followed three weeks later.

Each mission included both an orbiter and a lander, and all four components accomplished successes. On July 20, 1976, the Viking 1 lander returned the first photograph taken on the surface of Mars. That lander in a region called Chryse Planitia operated until Nov. 13, 1982. The Viking 2 lander operated in the Utopia Planitia region from Sept. 3, 1976 to April 11, 1980. The orbiters sent home images of the entire planet at resolutions of 300 meters or less per pixel.

Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov

2010-273

Images

This color image of the Martian surface in the Chryse area was taken by Viking Lander 1

This color image of the Martian surface in the Chryse area was taken by Viking Lander 1, looking southwest, about 15 minutes before sunset on the evening of August 21.
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Video


The history-making Viking 1 mission launched 35 years ago.

Viking, Mars Trailblazer

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