Mars is one planet that mankind has always been curious to know about. After moon, most missions have been attempted to Mars than to any other place in the Solar System. Approximately half of the total attempts made have failed. Exploration of Mars and fantasy of human travel to mars is nothing new. While manned missions have remained financial and logistical near-impossibilities, unmanned missions began in 1960. We are providing the list of notable Mars Missions and the success rate of Mars Missions.
Notable Missions to Mars
- Mariner 9: Mariner 9 launched by NASA was the first spacecraft to orbit another planet. Mariner 9 was launched on May 30, 1971 from LC-36B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. It reached the planet on November 14 of the same year. after reaching Mars, Mariner 9 observed a huge dust storm that was obscuring the whole globe of the planet. NASA scientists sent commands to the spacecraft to wait until the storm had abated and the surface was clearly visible before compiling its high-quality images of the Martian surface. Mariner 9 completed its final transmission on October 27, 1972.
- Mars Odyssey: NASA’s Mars Odyssey launched March 7, 2001 and arrived at the Red Planet on Oct. 24, 2001. The orbiter is still conducting its extended science mission. Mars Odyssey broke the record for the longest-serving spacecraft at Mars on Dec. 15, 2010. The spacecraft has returned about 350,000 images and relayed more than 95 percent of all data from the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. It is projected to remain in operation until 2025.
- Mars Express: Mars Express was launched by the European Space Agency on June 2, 2003. Mars Express was launched with an intent of surveying Mars’ surface using high-resolution cameras, radars, and spectrometers. Mars Express has detected several surprising concentrations of methane and evidence for recent volcanism on Mars.
- Mars Spirit and Opportunity: The Spirit and Opportunity rovers represent one of the biggest success stories of the current NASA space program. The rovers were launched separately in summer 2003. Initially, the plan was for a 90-day. But the Spirit would continue to transmit until March 2010, and Opportunity until June 2018.
- Curiosity Rover: Curiosity was launched by NASA on November 26, 2011. NASA’s Curiosity was launched to study the climate and landscape of Mars. Curiosity is searching for potential evidence of microbial life-sustaining conditions is MArs past or present and assessing Mars’ habitability ahead of human contact. The rover has also made key discoveries such as the detection of organic material.
- Mangalyaan (Mars Orbiter Mission): Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mission Mangalyaan is the first interplanetary space mission of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It was launched on 5th November 2013. The space probe of this mission has been orbiting Mars since 24th September 2014. ISRO is the 4th space agency in the world to reach the orbit of Mars after Roscosmos, NASA, European Space Agency (ESA). Mangalyaan is also outfitted with a small suite of research instruments designed to capture atmospheric data. It is also the cheapest Mars mission to date, costing only 73 million USD.
- MAVEN: MAVEN stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission. MAVEN has provided unique measurements to address key questions about Mars climate and habitability and improve understanding of dynamic processes in the upper Martian atmosphere and ionosphere. It was launched on November 18, 2013.
- InSight: InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is a Mars lander full of geophysical instruments. Using a seismometer, heat flow probe, and precision tracking it seeks to explore the deep interior of Mars and improve our understanding of the formation of terrestrial planets. It was launched on 5 May 2018.
Success Rate of Mars Missions
While manned missions have remained financial and logistical near-impossibilities, unmanned missions began in 1960. Given the price and amount of work put into the endeavor, all of that trepidation is understandable given the high failure rate of previous missions to Mars. Whether it is landing a probe on the Martian surface or orbiting the planet only 46% of previous trips have proven successful. There have been 56 Mars missions so far, of which 26 have been successful. It is a testament to the difficulty in reaching the red planet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Which was the First Successful Mars Mission?
Mariner 9 was the first spacecraft to orbit another planet. Mariner 9was launched on May 30, 1971
Q. When was ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission Launched?
ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission Launched was launched on 5th November 2013.
Q. Which is the longest-serving spacecraft on Mars
NASA’s Mars Odyssey launched March 7, 2001. It is the longest-serving spacecraft at Mars on Dec. 15, 2010. It is projected to remain in operation until 2025.