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Sunday, March 23, 1975

NASA's VIKING mission to Mars! (1975)

Viking 1 and 2 

Viking 1 and 2 were two groundbreaking spacecraft missions to the planet Mars, launched by NASA in 1975. The Viking program was designed to be the most comprehensive study of Mars to date, and included both orbiter and lander components.

After being launched into space, Viking 1 and 2 traveled to Mars using a combination of gravity assists and rocket burns, and entered Martian orbit in 1976. The landers then separated from the orbiters and made successful landings on the Martian surface,

Viking 1 and 2 were the first spacecraft to successfully land on Mars and perform scientific experiments on the surface of the planet. The landers were equipped with a suite of scientific instruments, including a camera, a gas chromatograph, and a mass spectrometer, which were used to study the composition and properties of the Martian surface and atmosphere.

Viking 1 and 2 also carried out the first search for evidence of microbial life on Mars, using a biology experiment called the Labeled Release (LR) experiment. The LR experiment involved adding a nutrient solution to a sample of Martian soil and measuring the gases that were produced as a result. The results of the LR experiment were inconclusive, and did not provide strong evidence for the presence of microbial life on Mars.

Viking 1 and 2 made many other important scientific discoveries during their missions, including the detection of a thin layer of water vapor in the Martian atmosphere, the confirmation of the presence of strong winds and dust storms on the planet, and the identification of many new surface features, including mountains, valleys, and plains.

Overall, the Viking 1 and 2 missions were major achievements for NASA and the United States, and helped to establish our understanding of the planet Mars. The data and images collected by the Viking spacecraft continue to be analyzed and used by scientists today, and have contributed to our ongoing exploration of the Red Planet.

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