Viking 1 Landing Photos

Before personal computers, web sites, email, smart phones, and social media were commonplace, JPL posted mission photos on a bulletin board in the mall, with a caption by each photo.  This was the only way for most employees to see the images that were released to the public.

In July 1976, JPL celebrated the arrival of the Viking 1 lander on Mars.  Many images were received from the Viking orbiter and lander during that summer and some were assembled (by hand) into panoramas and mosaics.  Photos were displayed by closed-circuit television during the landing event to groups of visitors in a few locations on Lab, and were filmed or broadcast by visiting news crews.  Hard copy photos were distributed to the news media.  A small set of images from each JPL mission was typically selected for distribution to all JPLers, along with a letter of congratulations and thanks for their contributions. Decades later, many of these photographs and lithographs have found their way to the JPL Archives.

For more information about the history of JPL, contact the JPL Archives for assistance.  [Archival and other sources:  JPL photo albums and indexes; JPL Annual Reports, and The Viking Mission to Mars.]


  • Julie Cooper