Named by the Roman god of war, Mars is not very kind to visitors



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NASA's Mariner 4 performed the first successful passage of the red planet in 1965, sending back 21 photos.

Mariner 9 entered orbit around Mars and received more than 7,000 photos.

And NASA's Vikings 1 and 2 not only put the spacecraft into orbit on Mars in 1976, but also on the surface. The Vikings twins were the first successful landers on Mars on planet Earth.


The 90s were not so kind to NASA. A humiliating metric conversion conversion in English condemned the Mars Observer in 1993. Another American orbiter was later lost, as well as a landing module and two tracking probes designed to penetrate the surface.

Despite decades of attempts, Russia in particular has had very bad luck on Mars.

The then Soviet Union was the first to attempt to fly over Mars in 1960. The spacecraft never reached the orbit of Earth. After more flight failures and crashes, the Soviets finally landed a pair of spacecraft in orbit on Mars in 1971 and retrieved actual data. But landing partners were a total failure.

And so it was for the Soviets / Russians through their most recent attempt with China in 2011. The intimidating goal was to land a spacecraft on the moon of Mars Phobos to collect and return samples, and place a second spacecraft in orbit around Mars. Neither of them managed to get out of Earth orbit.

Europe was also bitten by snakes on Mars, as was Japan.

While the European Space Agency has satellites working around Mars, both attempts to land have failed. Just two years ago, his lander hit the surface so quickly that he dug a crater. The only space spacecraft on Mars, launched in 1998, did not orbit.

India, in turn, operates a satellite around Mars four years ago, its first and only shot on the red planet.

There is a strong European presence in NASA's InSight. Germany is responsible for the mechanical mole designed to excavate 5 meters on the Martian surface to conduct underground heat measurements, while France directs the earthquake monitoring seismograph of the probe.

On the surface, Curiosity is the only thing that operates on Mars. Currently in orbit: U.S. Odyssey since 2001, Europe Mars Express (2003), Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (2006), U.S. Maven (2014), Mangalyaan orbiter (2014) and Trace Gas Orbiter (2016).

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