|Photograph From Viking Lander 1. Source: Nasa|
Viking 1 was launched from Cape Canaveral on August 20, 1975. The launch was planned so that Viking 1 would land on the surface of Mars on July 4, 1976, corresponding with the U.S. Bicentennial. Although Viking entered the orbit of Mars as scheduled on June 29, 1976, it had problems selecting an appropriate landing site; as a result the lander wasn't able to touch down until July 20, 1976. After landing, the Viking lander took samples of the soil on the surface, and after examination it was determined that there was no evidence of life on Mars. The Viking 1 lander was able to remain functional for six and a half years until November, 1982. During this time it continued to study the planet by taking pictures with its TV cameras, and by taking daily atmospheric temperature and atmospheric readings. The Viking orbiter was operational until August 7,1980.
Viking 2 was launched on September 9,1975. It arrived at Mars on August 7, 1976, but didn't touch down until September 3, 1976. The Viking 2 orbiter and lander had essentially the same mission as did its predecessor Viking 1, and the Viking 2 lander continued to function until April 12,1980. Over all, the Viking landers relayed back a total of over 4,500 images of the surface of Mars. And the two orbiters were able to transmit over 20,000 images before ceasing to function.
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