Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

First Mars Landing

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

First Mars Landing

Article excerpt

On July 20, 1976, NASA's Viking 1 made history when it became the first American spacecraft to successfully touch down on the surface of Mars and return images and scientific data for six years.

Two identical spacecraft, Viking 1 and Viking 2, each consisting of a lander and an orbiter, were launched a year earlier in 1975 from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Viking 1 lander touched down on the western slope of Chryse Planitia (the Plains of Gold) on July 20, while the Viking 2 lander settled down at Utopia Planitia on Sept. 3.

The orbiters imaged the entire surface of Mars at a resolution of 150 to 300 meters and selected areas at 8 meters. The Viking landers transmitted images of the surface, took surface samples and analyzed them for composition and signs of life. They also studied the Martian meteorology and atmosphere and deployed seismometers.

Viking orbiter images revealed volcanoes, lava plains, immense canyons, cratered areas, wind-formed features, and evidence of past surface water. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.