Talk:Exploration of Mars

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Former good article nominee Exploration of Mars was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
July 9, 2006 Good article nominee Not listed
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WikiProject icon Exploration of Mars is included in the Wikipedia CD Selection, see Exploration of Mars at Schools Wikipedia. Please maintain high quality standards; if you are an established editor your last version in the article history may be used so please don't leave the article with unresolved issues, and make an extra effort to include free images, because non-free images cannot be used on the DVDs.


The list of questions comes from [1]. The timeline of Mars exploration comes from [2]. Both are NASA websites and should accordingly be in the public domain. --Minesweeper 09:08, Jan 10, 2004 (UTC)

I've removed the statement that George W. Bush's space exploration plan includes "...the plan for a subsequent manned mission to Mars without a clear timetable", and changed it to "suggests that manned missions to Mars may be a possibility in the future." As far as I know, Bush's statement only vaguely included the possibility of "human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond." I know it's been widely reported in the media that Bush's plan emphasizes manned missions to Mars, but that really doesn't seem to be the case. See [3]. -- Wapcaplet 21:35, 22 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Removed passage[edit]

I removed :

Paul Davies, professor at the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, believes that a one-way mission to Mars will greatly reduce the cost and technical difficulties of manned exploration.

From the manned missions section. Who cares what this man thinks, it does not actually provied real content to the article.

MGS first successful in two decades?[edit]

"This mission was the first successful one to the red planet in two decades when it launched November 7, 1996, and entered orbit on September 12, 1997"

I take issue with this statement, although the Phobos missions where not a complete success they did return useful data. This statement should be reworded. Zerbey 19:11, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

OK, no comments in 1 month so I've reworded it slightly as planned. Zerbey 20:05, 27 February 2006 (UTC)


I have started to work on a template to link the different Martian Spacecraft. Right now I only have the current ones, if anyone wants to add to it, feel free. Template:Mars spacecraft Tuvas 18:02, 26 March 2006 (UTC) {{Mars_spacecraft}}

Mars Curse merge[edit]

I've suggested that the article Mars Curse be merged into this one, as I feel this is the more appropriate place for it.. mainly because here we have the complete list of launch attempts to Mars with their results; plus there doesn't seem to be a whole lot to say about the 'curse'. Comments? Mlm42 20:34, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

  • done. Mlm42 00:26, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
  • I suggest that we delete the 'Mars Curse' section. It's off topic.

WikiProject: Mars Spacecraft?[edit]

Hey all, I've been thinking about it, and it would be kind of nice to have a WikiProject for Martian spacecraft. There is a lot of articles that fall into this scope, some of them better maintained (Perhaps the best being the Mars Reconaissance Orbiter, and some less well maintained. Still, they all need their fair chance, and I think if we get a WikiProject going, it might help us to coordinate our efforts a bit better. Comments? Tuvas 21:11, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

  • I would presume all of them, the ~50 or so articles that are about Martian Spacecraft. I'd say it's sertainly large enough to start. I'm working on a start-up version of it, it's still got a ways before it's ready for the general public, but, if you want to take a look: Wikipedia:WikiProject: Mars SpacecraftTuvas 20:47, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Good article nomination (lack of references)[edit]

This is a really well-written article but unfortunately it contains barely any references and as such it cannot become a good article. Although inline citations would be preferable this is not essential but you do need to cite the sources that you get your information from or, alternatively, that you use to verify the information in the article. It has been added to the appropriate WikiProject for referencing.

Cedars 13:31, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Humans will reach Mars[edit]

When do you think humans will walk on Mars? Helicoptor 21:55, 9 July 2006 (UTC)when they reach there...

Richard C. Hoagland[edit]

HE says that the reason that probes sent to Mars are being destroyed by a alien intelligence/ automated weapons system. 21:06, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Map of objects on Mars[edit]

I found a map[4] at a Nasa website with some of the landing sites. I think it would be nice to have such a map in the article. Is it possible to use the NASA image? Are there any similar ones? If not could someone create one? Lukas 06:28, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Country flags[edit]

Looking at the bottom table of succesful / failed missions, I see NASA missions accompanied by a USA flag, Japan missions with a Japanese flag, etc. but European missions are marked with the ESA logo instead of the more widely known (and clearer: letters of that size are a pain) European flag. I'm changing this, if anyone disagrees, please tell why here. 19:05, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Using the EU flag is inappropriate, I believe. ESA is not an EU department/ministry/administration; it is an independent organization. Not all members of the EU are members of ESA. The EU flag does not even appear among the flags shown on ESA's main page. 20:02, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree with the last post, see the following two maps: [5] [6].
See also the ESA main page (the EU flag doesn't appear, as mentioned above): [7].
I would suggest reverting it to the ESA flag. Another option would be to use the logos of the respective space agencies for all missions. Lukas 02:42, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
I'd agree with the ESA flag
BaikinMan 17:34, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
Although, of course, what is called the "EU flag" here is in fact the European flag, introduced in 1955 by the Council of Europe, an organisation which all ESA members are part of. -- Nidator T / C 18:24, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

I made a "ESA surrogate flag" (Image:Not the esa flag.png) with 22px width (as the other flag icons) for usage for the ESA: link=ESA Tony Mach (talk) 12:06, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Launch windows[edit]

It isn't quite clear from the "Launch windows" section why these particular time-periods work well for Earth to Mars spaceflights. Is it because: if one considers all Hohman transfer orbits with periapsis at Earth's orbit around the Sun and with apoapsis at the orbit of Mars, these are the intervals when the planets are in the right places in their orbits? If so, is there a good way to explain that in the article? Is it reasonable to at least somehow mention Hohman transfers at this point in the article? And ... what about gravity-assist flybys of other planets enroute? Do they make other launch windows available? Sdsds 21:04, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

in the Launch window section, I added a link to Hohmann transfer. In my opinion, the links to Hohmann trajectory and to synodic periods means the links within this section are sufficient references to make it clear, so I deleted the request for references as to where the launch windows come from for this section.
There are no other planets enroute between Earth and Mars. It is, in fact, possible to do an alternate trajectory that flies inward past Venus orbit; I'll add a mention of this to the section as well. Geoffrey.landis 16:31, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Flag for ESA mission[edit]

The entry in the timeline for the Mars Express Orbiter mission was modified to use the flag of the EU. Sadly, that isn't right -- Mars Express Orbiter was an ESA mission, but ESA is not an agency of the EU. It could be switched to the ESA logo, but only if someone wants to apply a fair use rationale for it, as the logo isn't free. I have used instead a text substitute for the ESA's flag, which is rather ugly. Is there a better way to handle this situation? (sdsds - talk) 02:14, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

The "EU flag" as you call it, is also the "Flag of Europe", used to represent Europe in general, since the Council of Europe (nothing to do with with the European Council or the Council of the European Union, by the way) adopted it and includes very nearly every european state. (talk) 02:47, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

I made a "ESA surrogate flag" (Image:Not the esa flag.png) with 22px width (as the other flag icons) for usage for the ESA: link=ESA Tony Mach (talk) 12:06, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Nice work, but don't you mean File:Not the esa logo 2.png? --Regards, Necessary Evil (talk) 13:00, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Mars landing[edit]

I have tagged the recently created article Mars landing for merger. While it might be possible to write an article on landing experiences and theories, the current article is essentially a copy of this one--including information on orbital missions! Eluchil404 20:04, 3 September 2007 (UTC) Agreed. Merging sounds good to me. 15:16, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Rosetta and Dawn[edit]

The two missions have and will do useful science at Mars, therefore they should be included66.108.105.211 14:17, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

What ???[edit]

The meaning of this sentence is unclear:
"Eleven of the missions included attempts to land on the surface, but only six transmitted data once after landing."
Does this mean that out of eleven landings, six missions only transmitted data once?
Does it mean that out of 11 attempts, only six missions landed? But then, did they all transmit data?Twang (talk) 16:43, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

Merger with Mars landing[edit]

I agree with the proposed merger with Mars landing, as landings are part of Mars exploration. BatteryIncluded (talk) 04:27, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Comment - Mars exploration includes landers, orbiters, rovers, and maybe even some impactors. And of course one day possibly human spaceflight missions as well. This article needs to be a concise overview of all these topics, ideally organized into meaningful sections. Then we could start each section with a {{Main}} or {{See also}} template, leading to a more detailed article about that particular subject.... (sdsds - talk) 04:31, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Oppose. Exploration of Mars is already pretty long as it. It would just get too lengthy if we moved all the content from Mars landing to this article. YouthoNation (talk) 20:20, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Indian Mission to Mars by 2013?[edit]

I dont think there's any such mission planned to Mars in my country or else it would have been out in the Media. They are focussing on the moon for now. Can I remove the fictional mission?

Pravictor (talk) 01:45, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Well there is such a mission.. I did a Google Search. I'll add references. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pravictor (talkcontribs) 01:50, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

The said mission is at this time, one scientist who "mulls" about it and the ISRO web site mentions nothing about Mars. It is a media rumor, it is unoficial and it is not yet planned, so I think it should be removed altogether. (Although I think they are capable of it, but not in 4 years). -BatteryIncluded (talk) 03:31, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

External Link[edit]

I work at the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College, and would like to include a link to the page Discoveries from Mars. This is an excellent website for educators and includes activities, webresources, and workshops to help teachers in the geosciences. Thanks for considering this. Ejsamoht (talk) 16:46, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

See talk:Biocomplexity. An anon has been spamming that link and been blocked. Vsmith (talk) 16:56, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

Regarding the recent flag dispute.[edit]

NASA use the Stars and Stripes on their hardware, ISAS/JAXA use the Japanese flag on their hardware, CNSA use the PRC's flag on their hardware BUT ESA doesn't use the European flag on their hardware (except on the European Union funded Galileo navigation satellites). Until the European Union launch its own Mars missions, the EU flag doesn't belong here. --Regards, Necessary Evil (talk) 16:17, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

  • While it is used by the EU, it also in wider usage for other parts of the so-called "European community", so it is suitable for usage to represent Europe as a whole. --GW 17:24, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Not all countries in Europe are members of ESA and again, ESA doesn't use the European flag on their hardware. --Regards, Necessary Evil (talk) 17:36, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I never said they were, but it is called the "European" Space Agency. As for flags on hardware, the US National Reconnaissance Office doesn't put US flags on its hardware anymore, so are you suggesting that in any lists they appear in, NRO satellites should not have a flag by them? --GW 17:43, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I'll be happy to discuss that when National Reconnaissance Office launches their first Mars mission ;-) --Regards, Necessary Evil (talk) 17:54, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Four points:

  • The ESA article discusses how the ESA is not a part of the European Union. Switzerland and Canada are both ESA members but of course are not EU members.
  • Whether the NRO puts flags on its hardware is irrelevant, as the NRO is solely a US government agency.
    • If UKUSA ever puts up satellites, we'd properly use a "UKUSA" label, or a UKUSA flag if there's such a thing, to identify it.
    • Until Gemini 4 US spacesuits didn't have flags either; does this mean we shouldn't, in a list of astronauts, put US flags next to Scott Carpenter or Gus Grissom's names since neither ever flew in space with a US flag on his suit?

Bottom line: The EU flag doesn't belong next to non-EU projects. YLee (talk) 20:23, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

    • It's not the EU flag. The EU may use it, but it is not theirs. Anyway do what you like. One of these silly disputes crops up every few months and it never gets the project anywhere, so I can't be bothered to continue this discussion. --GW 20:28, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

I made a "ESA surrogate flag" (Image:Not the esa flag.png) with 22px width (as the other flag icons) for usage for the ESA: link=ESA Tony Mach (talk) 12:07, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

added timeline data?[edit]

I'm curious about the project approval dates for each project; estimated development or budget costs would be interesting as well. I looked at Viking 1 and didn't see that data, didn't check further, so I'm guessing this would require research. So, before doing the research, what would be the best date to seek out as the beginning of the project/mission? Too hard to define, determine. obtain? Mulp (talk) 23:40, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Launch Windows[edit]

Where did the list of dates for launch windows come from? Is it based on simple Hohmann calculation (coplanar circular planetary orbits), is it based on solution of Lambert's problem? Do they take into account the effects of Earth and Mars gravity? All these things make a difference, if you want to get the dates that NASA would pick, you can't just solve Lambert's problem or you can be off by a month in some cases. DonPMitchell (talk) 05:25, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

I have requested a source for these claims. Without a verifiable citation, these claims don't belong in Wikipedia. Cheers. N2e (talk) 00:15, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Launch window list is getting old[edit]

The list of launch windows in the article is now mostly in the past, one is this year, and the last is in 2014. Given current plans for manned missions it should be extended well into the future. Whoever did the calculations, could you please add some more up to say 2030 or 2035? Or provide a link to a website that does the calculation if such a thing exists? Thank you! -- (talk)

EAS: Europa Avoidance Syndrome[edit]

There should be a section on how the Mars missions are seen as competitive (for funding) with a series of cancelled Europa missions (Europa, a moon of Jupiter, that has a confirmed saltwater ocean, is considered the most promising location for extraterrestrial life in the solar system). Yet the resulting funding "turf wars" have sidelined Europa surface exploration for years.

Ditto for Saturns' moon Enceladus, which has another confirmed saltwater ocean. Most resources go to Mars, while the ocean moons languish.

The funding politics, and controversies related to this, are certainly worth a section in the article. (talk) 22:31, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps. But on Wikipedia, anyone can edit, so if you think you have notable information, with reliable secondary sources that can be cited to support your claims, then have at it. Cheers. N2e (talk) 20:28, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

Timeline from Mars article merge[edit]

I suggest to merge into the Timeline of Mars exploration section whatever complementary information appears in the Mars article section Timeline and delete the later in order to avoid duplication. Tom Paine (talk) 14:37, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

I added the other list as summary, but it used a different reference than this list. I moved it to List of missions to Mars now. Fotaun (talk) 17:05, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
If there are discrepancies between reference they should be discussed, but I do not think it is a reason to carry on with the unnecessary duplication of effort by keeping two very similar lists in Wikipedia. I suggest to discontinue the less complete List of missions to Mars article. Tom Paine (talk) 17:32, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

Copyright violation[edit]

I am very concerned about the use of non-free images such as the ESA, JAXA and ISRO logos to denote the operators of spacecraft in this article. They can easily be replaced in this manner with text indicating the agency name, and therefore their use here violates copyright, and cannot be justified as fair use. --W. D. Graham 08:57, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Hello. If they are copyright violations, then they may be removed without much argument. What I am concerned about is that Wikipedia is hosting these images, which incites their use within. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 12:41, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
They are being hosted to illustrate the articles on those agencies, which is considered fair use. See Wikipedia:Non-free content --W. D. Graham
For the ESA there is a "ESA surrogate flag" available: link=ESA Tony Mach (talk) 10:26, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
And I made "ESA surrogate flag" (Image:Not the esa flag.png) with 22px width (as the other flag icons): link=ESA Tony Mach (talk) 12:05, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Help needed on current plans for Mars sample return missions[edit]

The current situation of future plans for Mars sample return missions (such as Mars sample return mission, Mars Exploration Joint Initiative, Aurora programme, Mars-Grunt, Marco Polo (spacecraft) and MarcoPolo-R) needs to be updated, especially what current plans on contributions and time-tables are from NASA, ESA and Roskomos. If anybody can contribute with references, it would be most welcome. Tony Mach (talk) 09:22, 7 August 2012 (UTC)


This article now covers up the failed missions to Mars by deleting direct references to them ("Spate of failures" and "Mars curse" sections). This leaves only nonsensical references like "In 2001 the run of bad luck ended". What run of bad luck? It's nearly all been removed. Obviously, this coverup needs to be more thorough! --Tysto (talk) 01:37, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

I understand that such sections were merged and renamed "Probing difficulties". Also, I could not find any ....ehm....systematic deletion of failed missions. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 15:09, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Totals section 18 years out of date[edit]

Needs attention, the row for the landers was about 18 years out of date, seems it hasn't been updated since Pathfinder. I noticed because I wanted to check the % of successful landers on Mars and it said there had only been 3 successful landers ever! Someone should check over the entire table. Robert Walker (talk) 08:47, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

MOM and "cheapest mission"/"first nation to get a S/C to Mars on first shot" claims[edit]

See Talk:Mars Orbiter Mission#MOM and "cheapest mission"/"first nation to get a S/C to Mars on first shot" claims for some discussion of this dubious claim of MOM's place in exploration of Mars. Galactic Penguin SST (talk) 05:47, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

Lander thrust and control systems check[edit] (talk) 06:09, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

Mars Cube One A and B[edit]

Two cubesats colectively referred to as Mars Cube One that will be hitching a ride with insight next year, for communications, and will be separating from InSight about six months before Mars insertion. [8] They should probably appear in the table as a split box, similar to how Fobos-grunt and Yinghuo are arranged. I would put them in myself but not sure of how to do the markup for split cells. Thanks. --ERAGON (talk) 00:27, 12 August 2015 (UTC)

I added it to the table. Feel free to edit the description. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 04:38, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
Great, thanks --ERAGON (talk) 10:03, 12 August 2015 (UTC)