Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend
Since the 1960s, space programs from all over the world have launched missions to Mars, from flybys and orbiters to rovers on the surface.
Two rovers and one lander are currently exploring the Martian surface. Eight orbiters are studying the planet from above.
Here are some of the successful missions:
* Current mission
1964 Mariner 4 (flyby)
Collected the first closeup photographs of Mars impact craters
Mariner 6 & 7 (flyby) Analyzed Martian atmosphere and surface
Mariner 9 (flyby) Mariner 9 compiled a mosaic of the Martian surface. It also took the first close-up photos of the two Martian moons.
1975 Viking 1 & 2 (orbiter and lander)
NASA’s Viking Project was the first U.S. mission to land a spacecraft safely on the surface of Mars and return images of the surface.
Pathfinder (rover), Mars Global Surveyor (orbiter)
2001 *Mars Odyssey (orbiter)
NASA’s longest-lasting spacecraft at Mars
Spirit & Opportunity (rovers), *Mars Express (orbiter)
*Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (orbiter)
Phoenix Scout (lander)
2016 *ExoMars (orbiter/ lander)
The orbiter had a successful insertion, but the demonstration module lander was lost on touchdown.