(proof test article)
First Spacecraft to Operate on the Surface of
On July 20 and September 3, 1976, two identical Viking spacecraft successfully
landed on Mars. The Viking landers were the first spacecraft to conduct
prolonged scientific studies on the surface of another planet.
Instruments aboard the spacecraft provided valuable information on the Martian
atmosphere and surface until late 1982. Biological experiments carried out on
the Viking landers did not detect signs of life or any of the organic compounds
that are abundant on Earth.
The Viking lander displayed here is a "proof test article" used on Earth to
simulate the behavior of the actual landers and to test their responses to
||2 m (6 ft 6 in)
||3 m (10 ft)
||576 kg (1,270 lb)
||Martin Marietta for NASA
Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration