Saturday, August 20, 2011

Viking 1 and Voyager 2

Viking 1 Launches Towards Mars, August 20, 1975

On August 20, 1975 NASA's Viking 1 spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral, beginning it's historic, 10 month flight to Mars.

Viking 1 Lander (Replica)

On July 20, 1976 the Viking 1 Lander would become the first vessel from Earth to land and explore the red Martian terrain.

Mars, July 20 1976

Viking 1's Lander would continue to explore the surface of Mars, providing NASA with a huge amount of raw data on the planet and its composition, for more than 6 years before it finally stopped functioning on August 17, 1980.

With plans for laying the groundwork for the manned mission to Mars that was set for the late 1980's, but never materialized, Viking 1 showed us that the voyage could be done.

Two year after the launch of Viking 1, August 20, 1977, NASA launched Voyager 2, the first part of their ambitious project to send a pair of unmanned probes on a tour of the solar system and then into the deep reaches of space beyond.

Voyager II Launch, Aug 20, 1977

Voyager 2's exact replica, Voyager 1, would launch on September 5, 1977

Voyager II 

For the last 34 years, the Voyager craft have flown through our solar system heading out into deep space, taking the occasional side trip to take amazing pictures of the other celestial bodies in our system.

Triton, Neptune's Largest Moon, Imaged from Voyager 2

Saturn, Imaged from Voyager 2

Currently the Voyagers are passing through the Heliosphere, and are still sending signals back to Earth, adding to our information of our universe.

I wonder how long it will be before the US rediscovers the exploration of the stars?

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