The Most Successful Missions To Mars
The mission to Mars has been a subject of scientific proposals since the 19th century. The exploration of Mars has been an objective of the national space program for decades. The mission to Mars has also been a subject of science fiction with human traveling to the Mars being explored in several literature materials including Total Recall, Mission to Mars, and the Martians. Several missions to Mars have been proposed and planned including the Crocco flyby with most missions scheduled to coincide with the Launch of Windows. Some of the most successful earliest missions to Mars include
Mariner 4 was part of spacecraft designed to explore Mars in a flyby mode and transmit observation to the earth. Mariner 4 was released towards Mars on November 28, 1964, and was a first successful mission to Mars. It was the first to return the pictures of the surface of the planet Mars. Mariner 4 also captured the image of another planet which transformed the scientific view of the existence of life in Mars. Mariner 4 spacecraft was made up of octagonal magnesium frame, solar panels mounted on the top frame, and a parabolic antenna mounted on the frame. The instruments in the Mariner 4 consisted of a magnetometer, a radiation detector, cosmic dust detector, television camera, and cosmic ray telescope. After the success of the Mariner 4, scientists concluded that if there was life on Mars, then it was smaller and simpler. The Mariner 4 mission total cost was $83 million.
Mariner 6 and 7
Mariner 6 and 7 completed a dual mission to Mars in 1969. Marina 6 was launched on February 25, 1969, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station while Mariner 7 was launched on March 27, 1969, at Cape Kennedy. The craft analyzed the atmosphere and surface over the equator and South Polar regions using a remote sensor while recording and transmitting pictures. The goal of the mission was to study the surface and the atmosphere of Mars to establish the basis for further investigations relevant to search for life in the planet. Mariner 6 was also to provide data that would be used for programming Mariner 7. Both Mariner 6 and 7 were identical and consisted of octagonal magnesium frame and a conical structure mounted on the frame. The instruments in both Mariners included IR Spectrometer, UV Spectrometer, Mars TV Camera, and celestial mechanics.
Mariner 9 contributed significantly to the exploration of Mars. It was also part of the Mariner program that had initially produced three successful missions (Mariner 4, 6 and 7). Mariner 9 was released towards Mars on May 30, 1971, and landed there on November 14, 1971. It was the first spacecraft to go around another planet. Mariner 9 was developed to complete the explorations initiated by Mariner 6 and 7 and to study any of the temporal changes in the Martians’ atmosphere and surface. Mariner 9 also analyzed the two Mars’ moons. The Mariner 9 met and exceeded its objectives.
Despite the success of some of the missions to Mars, significant difficulties were encountered in the process. The high cost of missions delayed some of the missions or let to the incomplete exploration of Mars. Also, the rivalry between the Soviet Union and the US in the late 1950s threatened some of the missions. Health threats and psychological effects of isolation from earth for prolonged periods were significant challenges to both successful and failed missions to Mars
The Most Successful Missions To Mars
|1||Mariner 4||28 November 1964||NASA United States||Successful|
|2||Mariner 6||25 February 1969||NASA United States||Successful|
|3||Mariner 7||27 March 1969||NASA United States||Successful|
|4||Mariner 9||30 May 1971||NASA United States||Successful|
|5||Viking 1 orbiter||20 August 1975||NASA United States||Successful|
|6||Viking 1 lander||20 August 1975||NASA United States||Successful|
|7||Viking 2 orbiter||9 September 1975||NASA United States||Successful|
|8||Viking 2 lander||9 September 1975||NASA United States||Successful|
|9||Mars Global Surveyor||7 November 1996||NASA United States||Successful|
|10||Mars Pathfinder||4 December 1996||NASA United States||Successful|
|11||Sojourner||4 December 1996||NASA United States||Successful|
|12||Mars Odyssey||7 April 2001||NASA United States||Operational|
|13||Mars Express||2 June 2003||ESA Europe||Operational|
|14||Spirit (MER-A)||10 June 2003||NASA United States||Successful|
|15||Opportunity (MER-B)||8 July 2003||NASA United States||Operational|
|16||Rosetta||2 March 2004||ESA Europe||Successful|
|17||MRO||12 August 2005||NASA United States||Operational|
|18||Phoenix||4 August 2007||NASA United States||Successful|
|19||Dawn||27 September 2007||NASA United States||Successful|
|20||Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory)||26 November 2011||NASA United States||Operational|
|21||Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan)||5 November 2013||ISRO India||Operational|
|22||MAVEN||18 November 2013||NASA United States||Operational|
|23||ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter||14 March 2016||ESA/Roscosmos Europe/Russia||Operational|
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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