Land­ing sites of Mars mis­sions

Landing sites of Mars missions
Land­ing sites of Mars mis­sions
Credit: NASA/JPL/USGS-MOLA;DLR

Landing sites of Mars missions

This glob­al to­po­graph­i­cal map of Mars shows all land­ings on Mars to date: Mars 3, a Mars mis­sion of the USSR, land­ed on Mars on 2 De­cem­ber 1971. Al­though it is the first 'soft' land­ing, com­mu­ni­ca­tion broke off just 20 sec­onds af­ter first con­tact from the sur­face. For this rea­son, NASA's Viking 1 mis­sion is con­sid­ered the first suc­cess­ful land­ing. It touched down on 20 Ju­ly 1976 in the Chryse Plani­tia plain, fol­lowed by its sis­ter probe Viking 2, which land­ed in Utopia Plani­tia on 3 Septem­ber 1976; both mis­sions were sta­tion­ary. Mars Pathfind­er was the first rover, the first ve­hi­cle on Mars, and land­ed on the US Na­tion­al Day, 4 Ju­ly 1997. 2004 saw the launch of two more larg­er rovers, Spir­it and Op­por­tu­ni­ty. On 6 Au­gust 2012 the largest Mars ve­hi­cle to date, Cu­rios­i­ty, land­ed on Mars. Like Viking, Phoenix (2008) and In­Sight (2018) are sta­tion­ary mis­sions. Mars 2020 will land in the Jeze­ro Crater with the rover Per­se­ver­ance on 18 Febru­ary 2021. On 23 Ju­ly 2020, an­oth­er lan­der mis­sion was launched to the Red Plan­et, the Chi­nese mis­sion Tian­wen 1, whose land­ing site has not yet been fi­nal­ly de­ter­mined.

This global topographical map of Mars shows all landings on Mars to date: Mars 3, a Mars mission of the USSR, landed on Mars on 2 December 1971. Although it is the first 'soft' landing, communication broke off just 20 seconds after first contact from the surface. For this reason, NASA's Viking 1 mission is considered the first successful landing. It touched down on 20 July 1976 in the Chryse Planitia plain, followed by its sister probe Viking 2, which landed in Utopia Planitia on 3 September 1976; both missions were stationary. Mars Pathfinder was the first rover, the first vehicle on Mars, and landed on the US National Day, 4 July 1997. 2004 saw the launch of two more larger rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. On 6 August 2012 the largest Mars vehicle to date, Curiosity, landed on Mars. Like Viking, Phoenix (2008) and InSight (2018) are stationary missions. Mars 2020 will land in the Jezero Crater with the rover Perseverance on 18 February 2021. On 23 July 2020, another lander mission was launched to the Red Planet, the Chinese mission Tianwen 1, whose landing site has not yet been finally determined.

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