When did we first land a spacecraft on Mars?

The Viking landers were the first spacecraft to land on Mars in the 1970s. Viking 1 and Viking 2 each had both an orbiter and a lander. On July 20, 1976 the Viking 1 Lander separated from the Orbiter and touched down on the surface of Mars. Less than two months later, on September 3, 1976, the Viking 2 lander touched down on Mars. These two landers took images of the Martian surface, studied soil samples, and studied the atmosphere of Mars.


Learn about IRAS, the first infrared telescope launched into Earth's orbit!