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Past Missions to Mars

DateNameCountrySpacecraft Type Comments
Oct. 10, 1960Mars 1960AUSSRProbe Did not reach Earth's orbit.
Oct. 14, 1960Mars 1960BUSSRProbe Did not reach Earth's orbit.
Oct. 24, 1962Mars 1962AUSSRFlyby Did not escape Earth's orbit.
Nov. 1, 1962Mars 1USSRFlyby Failed due to communications problem.
Nov. 4, 1962Mars 1962BUSSRLander Did not leave Earth's orbit.
Nov. 5, 1962Mariner 3USAFlyby Was unsuccessful in its flyby attempt.
Nov. 28, 1964 - Dec. 20, 1967Mariner 4USA Flyby Reached Mars on July 14, 1965 and came to within 9920 km of the surface. Returned 22 surface photos and compiled data on the atmosphere.
Nov. 30, 1964Zond 2USSRFlyby Contact was lost when vehicle reached Mars.
Feb. 24, 1969Mariner 6USAFlyby Reached Mars July 31, 1969 and came to within 3437 km of equatorial region. Returned numerous pictures and measurements.
Mar. 27, 1969Mariner 7USAFlyby Reached Mars Aug. 5, 1969 and came to within 3351 km of South Pole region. Took over 200 photos. Analysis revealed no ozone in the atmosphere.
May 8, 1971Mariner 8USAFlyby Crashed in the Atlantic during lift-off.
May 10, 1971Kosmos 419USSRProbe A lander was released from its orbiter but crashed into the Martian surface. The orbiter returned data until 1972.
May 19, 1971Mars 2USSR Orbiter/Soft Lander A lander was released from its orbiter but crashed into the Martian surface. The orbiter was still able to return data until 1972.
May 28, 1971Mars 3USSR Orbiter/Soft Lander Reached Mars December 2, 1971 and performed the first successful landing of a terrestrial craft on Mars. Sent 20 seconds of video data to the orbiter then failed. Discovered the amount of uranium and thorium in the soil was similar to the amount found on Earth. The orbiter returned data until August 1972.
May 30, 1971-2Mariner 9USAOrbiter Reached Mars Nov. 3, 1971 and went into orbit Nov. 24 for about one year. This was the first US spacecraft to orbit about a planet other than the Moon. Took over 7000 photos, covering 9O% of the surface. Captured images of four giant volcanoes and led to the discovery of river- and canal-like lines on the surface.
July 21, 1973Mars 4USSROrbiter Reached Mars Feb. 1974 but was unable to orbit. Returned data and images.
July 25, 1973Mars 5USSROrbiter Entered orbit Feb. 12, 1974 and quit unexpectedly after two weeks. However, it did return data for future missions.
Aug. 5, 1973Mars 6USSROrbiter/Soft Lander Achieved orbit around Mars on Mar. 12, 1974. Lander was launched and returned data on its way to the surface but crashed while trying to land.
Aug. 9, 1973Mars 7USSROrbiter/Soft Lander Attempted to orbit Mars but failed. Lander was deployed but missed Mars.
Aug. 20, 1975 - Aug. 7, 1980Viking 1USA Orbiter/Lander Entered into orbit about Mars on June 19, 1976. Lander reached the surface July 20, 1976 and provided images of the terrain, monitored the surface and searched for micro-organisms. The Lander continued to collect and send data from Mars for more than six years. During this time the orbiter continued to map the surface of Mars.
Sept. 9, 1975 - July 25, 1978Viking 2USA Orbiter/Lander Entered into orbit about Mars on July 24, 1976. Lander reached the surface Aug. 7, 1976 and provided images of the terrain, monitored the weather and searched for micro-organisms. The orbiter continued to map the surface. Scientists are still processing Viking data in the 1990s.
July 7, 1988Phobos 1USSROrbiter/Lander Sent to investigate Mars' moon, Phobos, but contact was lost on September 14, 1988.
July 12, 1988Phobos 2USSRFlyby/Lander Entered into orbit about Mars on Jan. 30, 1989 for six weeks. Was unable to reach Phobos and deploy its lander.
Sept. 25, 1992Mars ObserverUSAOrbiter Communications were lost before Mars Observer entered into orbit around Mars.



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