The Soviet Union’s Pre-Viking Mars Missions
- The USSR successfully landed several Venera spacecraft upon Venus’ surface between 1970 and 1981. This was no easy feat, given the hellishly high temperatures and pressures on that planet. The Soviets, as far as I am aware, possessed the only images of Venus’ surface as seen from a lander. The USSR also sent cloud balloons to Venus, which is almost too cool to comprehend.
- Landing on Mars is arduous. Keep in mind that the USSR’s landing attempts were made well before extensive surveys of the planet had been done. Landers can be rendered useless if they land within a crater, on a rock, or in an uncomplimentary area. Several landing sites for both Vikings had been rejected for being potentially too dangerous.
For information about Viking at 40 events occurring during the upcoming week, check out this link. Many thanks to Jay Gallentine for his input.
2. Gore, R. (1977, January). Sifting for Life in the Sands of Mars. National Geographic, 151(1), 3-31.3. Moore, P., & Hunt., G. (1983). Atlas of the Solar System. Chicago, IL: Rand McNally & Company.
4. Mutch, T. (1978). The Martian Landscape. Washington, D.C.: NASA Scientific and Technical Information Office.
5. Zak, A. (2016, June). Russia’s Unmanned Missions to Mars. In RussianSpaceWeb.com. Retrieved from http://www.russianspaceweb.com/spacecraft_planetary_mars.html