Gallery | Facts, Figures & Fun
Mars MissionsMars is a great target for scientific research. There have been and continue to be some fascinating missions to the Red Planet.
- Mariner 3
Mars photography mission.
- Mariner 4
1st spacecraft to get a close look at Mars.
- Mariner 6
Mariners 6 and 7 - identical teammates in a two-spacecraft mission to Mars.
- Mariner 7
Between them, they transmitted a total of 143 pictures of Mars as they approached and 55 close-up pictures as they flew past the equator and southern hemisphere.
- Mariner 8
The overall goals of the series were to search for an environment that could support life.
- Mariner 9
Mariner 9 was the first spacecraft to orbit another planet.
- Viking 1
Another twin spacecraft mission, consisting of Viking 1 and Viking 2, launched within a couple of weeks of each other. Viking 1 snapped the infamous "Face on Mars" image.
- Viking 2
The Viking missions revealed further details of volcanoes, lava plains, huge canyons, and the effects of wind and water.
- Fobos 1
Due to a programming error, the spacecraft flew past Mars without activating its science instruments or deploying its lander.
- Mars Observer
Mars Observer, the first of the Observer series of planetary missions, was designed to study the geoscience and climate of Mars.
- Mars Pathfinder
Mars Pathfinder was an ambitious mission to send a lander and a separate, remote-controlled rover to the surface of Mars and demonstrated a number of innovative, economical, and highly effective approaches to spacecraft and mission design of a planetary landing mission.
Intended to be Japan's first Mars orbiter, Nozomi was Japan's fourth "deep space" probe.
- Mars Climate Orbiter
Mars Climate Orbiter was designed to function as an interplanetary weather satellite and a communications relay for Mars Polar Lander.
- Mars Polar Lander
The last telemetry from Mars Polar Lander was sent just prior to atmospheric entry on 3 December 1999. It was never heard from again.
- Deep Space 2 The deep Space 2 probes were lost with the Mars Polar Lander.
- Beagle 2
Beagle 2 was declared lost after no communications were received following the scheduled landing on Mars.
The "Spirit" rover (Mars Exploration Rover A) is one of the two rovers launched to Mars in mid-2003.
Opportunity (Mars Exploration Rover B) found the strongest evidence yet that liquid water once existed on the surface of Mars.
- Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Global Surveyor was the first successful mission to the Red Planet in two decades.
- Mars 2001 Odyssey
The 2001 Mars Odyssey is the remaining part of the Mars Surveyor 2001 Project, which originally consisted of two separately launched missions.
- Mars Express
Mars Express is the European Space Agency's first visit to another planet.
- Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is designed to orbit Mars over a full martian year and gather data with six scientific instruments, including a high-resolution imager.
Phoenix is truly a mission risen from the ashes.
- Mars Science Laboratory
NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover will find out if the surface of Mars is -- or ever consisted of -- an environment able to support microscopic life.
- Mars Orbiter
This mission is still under development.
- Mars Scout 2
This next generation Mars Scout could take one of many forms - an airplane, balloon or small lander.
- Mars Sample Return Lander
Current plans call for the first sample return mission to be launched in 2014.
- Mars Astrobiology Field Lab Rover (AFL)
The mission will perform mutually confirming tests and measurements of biosignatures for past and present habitation.
- Mars Scout 3
Scout missions are designed by the science community and will be shaped by discoveries of the current fleet of Mars spacecraft.
- Mars Planetary Evolution and Meteorology (Multi-Lander) Network
Tentatively scheduled for a 2020 launch, this mission is still under development.