Exploration of Mars
The exploration of the red planet as the exploration of the Moon was began as part of the technological race between the United States and the former Soviet Union. The competition between these countries has marked the past of space exploration and the past of the Martian exploration. The past exploration of Mars is marked by both successes and failures on both sides of the exploration effort, which have led to technological advancements in many fields surrounding space exploration. Some of the fields which have benefited from the exploration of Mars by both the Americans and the Russians are rocket propulsion, planetary sciences, data transmission systems.
In recent years Martian exploration has been boosted by a renewed interest in the red planet and expanding human presence in space. Current missions include Pathfinder, a lander scheduled to arrive in Mars in July 1997 and Global Surveyor, that will map the Martian surface from orbit extensively.
Other missions are planned for the following launch opportunities, including a projected Sample Return Mission.