Portal:Mars/Selected article

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Selected articles list[edit]

1 through 7[edit]

Portal:Mars/Selected article/1

Viking program

NASA's Viking program consisted of two unmanned space missions to Mars, Viking 1 and Viking 2. Each mission had a satellite designed to photograph the surface of Mars from orbit, and to act as a communication relay for the Viking lander that each mission carried. It was the most expensive and ambitious mission ever sent to Mars. It was highly successful and formed most of the database of information about Mars until the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Viking 1 was launched on August 20, 1975, and the second craft, Viking 2, was launched on September 9, 1975, both riding atop Titan III-E rockets with Centaur upper stages. Each spacecraft consisted of an orbiter and a lander. After orbiting Mars and returning images used for landing site selection, the orbiter and lander detached and the lander entered the Martian atmosphere and soft-landed at the selected site. The orbiters continued imaging and other scientific operations from orbit while the landers deployed instruments on the surface.


Portal:Mars/Selected article/2 Mars 96 (sometimes called Mars 8) was an orbiter launched in 1996 by Russia and not directly related to the Soviet Mars probe program of the same name. The orbiter's intended destination was Mars, but its actual destination was the Pacific Ocean, due to problems with the launch vehicle. The Mars 96 spacecraft was based on the Phobos vehicles launched to Mars in 1988. They were of a new design at the time and both ultimately failed. But for the Mars 96 probe the designers believed they had corrected the flaws of the Phobos vehicle. Alas, they did not get to find out if they had produced a successful design this time due to the launch vehicle failure.

It was, however, a very ambitious mission and the heaviest (intended) interplanetary probe ever launched. It included a large complement of instruments such as the Penetrator, many provided by France, Germany, and other European countries (some of which have since been re-flown on Mars Express, launched in 2003), and the United States. It was made up of the Orbiter, two Surface Stations, and two Penetrators.


Portal:Mars/Selected article/3

Mariner 6 and 7

As part of the wider Mariner program, in 1969 Mariner 6 and Mariner 7 (Mariner Mars 69A / 69B) completed the first dual mission to Mars, flying over the equator and south polar regions and analysing atmosphere and surface with remote sensors as well as recording and relaying hundreds of pictures. The mission's goals were to study the surface and atmosphere of Mars during close flybys to establish the basis for future investigations, particularly those relevant to the search for extraterrestrial life, and to demonstrate and develop technologies required for future Mars missions and other long-duration missions far from the Sun. Mariner 6 also had the objective of providing experience and data which would be useful in programming the Mariner 7 encounter 5 days later.


Portal:Mars/Selected article/4

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is a multipurpose spacecraft designed to conduct reconnaissance and exploration of Mars from orbit. The $720 million USD spacecraft was built by Lockheed Martin under the supervision of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It was launched August 12, 2005, and attained Martian orbit on March 10, 2006. It finished aerobraking, entered its final science orbit and began its primary science phase in November 2006.

MRO contains a host of scientific instruments such as cameras, spectrometers, and radar, which are used to analyze the landforms, stratigraphy, minerals, and ice of Mars. It paves the way for future spacecraft by monitoring daily weather and surface conditions, studying potential landing sites, and testing a new telecommunications system. MRO's telecommunications system will transfer more data back to Earth than all previous interplanetary missions combined, and MRO will serve as a highly capable relay satellite for future missions.


Portal:Mars/Selected article/5

Wide view of the Olympus Mons aureole, escarpment and caldera

Olympus Mons (Latin, "Mount Olympus") is the tallest known volcano and mountain in our solar system. It is located on the planet Mars at approximately 18°N 133°W / 18°N 133°W / 18; -133. Before space probes confirmed its identity as a mountain, Olympus Mons was known to astronomers as the albedo feature, Nix Olympica ("Snows of Olympus"); since the late 19th century, however, it had been suspected that it was mountainous.


Portal:Mars/Selected article/6


A transit of Phobos across the Sun as seen from Mars takes place when Phobos passes directly between the Sun and a point on the surface of Mars, obscuring a large part of the Sun's disc for an observer on Mars. During a transit, Phobos can be seen from Mars as a large black disc rapidly moving across the face of the Sun. At the same time, the shadow of Phobos moves across the Martian surface.

The event could also be referred to as a partial occultation (or, popularly but inaccurately, a partial eclipse) of the Sun by Phobos.


Portal:Mars/Selected article/7

Phobos moon (large).jpg

Phobos is the larger and closer of Mars' two moons (the other being Deimos), both discovered by Asaph Hall. It is named after the Greek god Phobos (which means "fear"), a son of Ares (Mars). Its surface is mostly composed of carbonaceous chondrites and is heavily cratered. Phobos is one of the smallest moons in the solar system, and orbits about 9377 km (5823 mi) above the surface of Mars, closer to its primary than any other planetary moon. Because of this close orbit, the moon will crash into Mars' surface in the future. Phobos can cast shadows onto the surface of Mars when it passes between the Sun and Mars. Phobos' origin is unclear, and has been identified as a captured asteroid or even the remains of a planetesimal. One debunked claim suggested that Phobos is of artificial origin and is hollow. Spacecraft have imaged Phobos while orbiting Mars. The Phobos spacecraft were meant to explore Phobos in greater detail, but both failed en route. There are future plans to explore this moon.



Feel free to add featured, top or high importance articles about Mars to the above list. Other Mars-related articles may be nominated here.