Viking Orbiter Views of Mars

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1960s-early 1970s: Flybys & photographs

It found the planet shrouded in a global dust storm that obstructed the view of all but the tallest surface features.

As the dust cleared, Mariner 9 mapped volcanoes, canyons, and polar caps. From to , the Viking Orbiters gave us our first global view of Mars. They revealed a diversity of landforms related to impact, volcanic, and other geological processes, and strong evidence that water carved many large features in the distant past. The summit of the Ascraeus Mons volcano pokes through the dust storm in this Mariner 9 image above. Mars Orbiters Orbiters have arrived at Mars with increasing frequency in recent decades.

Viking 1 and its successful Mission to Mars - SciHi BlogSciHi Blog

Over Viking Orbiter images were pieced together to produce this global view of Mars left. A deep canyon called Valles Marineris extends more than 3, kilometers 1, miles across the center of the image.

The long duration of its mission allowed it to observe ongoing surface processes. Its Mars Orbiter Camera MOC provided both high-resolution images and a long-term record of lower-resolution global views. The spacecraft also produced a planet-wide topographic map and provided evidence of an early magnetic field. Mars Orbiter Camera view of wind-eroded sedimentary rock terraces in Gale Crater. Mars Odyssey Mars Odyssey began mapping Mars in and has provided data on its surface composition and radiation environment.

The Viking Mars Mission

It discovered large amounts of near-surface water ice around the poles, determined the radiation hazards for future human explorers, and has served as a communication relay for the two Mars Exploration Rovers. This visible-light image shows part of Mangala Vallis. For this reason, many scientists feel that learning about Mars is absolutely necessary in order to better understand out planet, Earth. They call it comparative planetology.

The Viking mission was to them a sort of quest for the holy grail.

Cary R. Spitzer, Editor

A mission of extreme importance. The pursuit of long searched for highly speculative historical evidence.

While the Vikings travel to their destination over million miles away, the world buzzed with excitement, anticipating their arrival. This was, after all, a new frontier about to be discovered. Now it was no longer just the talk of science fiction. A spacecraft was about to land on another planet. On June nineteenth, nineteen seventy six Viking one arrived at the planet Mars and immediately began sending back photographs.

Mars: Modern exploration

One hundred and thirty four thousand bits of information arrived every second. Viking's first lander touched down on Chryse Planitia on July twentieth, one month later. Viking two joined them on August seventh and its lander targeted for Eutopia Planitia landed on September third. For the next six years, the Viking mission would take over fifty five thousand photographs sending to Earth images of volcanoes, dust storms, evolving polar regions, and immense canyons. Evidence of lake beds, stream channels, and lava planes painted a picture of a very different Mars from a time long ago.

The landers performed a multitude of experiments, biological and chemical, day after day for over three martian years, digging, retrieving, and analyzing.

And yet not one trace of organic material was found. And so, many who held great expectations for the discovery of life on Mars were let down, left disappointed. However, for each question that the Viking mission answered, there was a new question born. Questions so tantalizing that soon after we received Viking's final message in November of nineteen eighty two, scientists anxiously began planning a return trip to the red planet.

NASA's home for launching humans

Viking Orbiter Views of Mars Viking Orbiter Views of Mars
Viking Orbiter Views of Mars Viking Orbiter Views of Mars
Viking Orbiter Views of Mars Viking Orbiter Views of Mars
Viking Orbiter Views of Mars Viking Orbiter Views of Mars
Viking Orbiter Views of Mars Viking Orbiter Views of Mars
Viking Orbiter Views of Mars Viking Orbiter Views of Mars
Viking Orbiter Views of Mars Viking Orbiter Views of Mars

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