From: LARRY KLAES (ljk4_at_msn.com)
Date: Fri Jul 14 2006 - 19:59:07 PDT
>From: "NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory" <info_at_jpl.nasa.gov>
>Subject: NASA Marks 30th Anniversary of Mars Viking Mission
>Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2006 16:30:15 -0700
>Guy Webster 818-354-6278
>Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
>Dwayne Brown/Erica Hupp 202-358-1726/1237
>NASA Headquarters, Washington
>Marny Skora 757-864-3315
>Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.
>News Release: 2006-091 July
>NASA Marks 30th Anniversary of Mars Viking Mission
>Thirty years after the first successful landing on Mars by NASA's Viking
>ambitious mission continues to evoke pride and enthusiasm for future space
>NASA's Viking 1 and 2 missions to Mars, each consisting of an orbiter and a
>became the first space probes to obtain high resolution images of the
>characterize the structure and composition of the atmosphere and surface;
>on-the-spot biological tests for life on another planet.
>Viking 1 was launched Aug. 20, 1975, and arrived at Mars on June 19, 1976.
>On July 20,
>1976, the Viking 1 lander separated from the orbiter and touched down at
>Planitia. Viking 2 was launched Sept. 9, 1975, and entered Mars orbit Aug.
>7, 1976. The
>Viking 2 lander touched down at Utopia Planitia on Sept. 3, 1976.
>"The Viking team didn't know the Martian atmosphere very well, we had
>almost no idea
>about the terrain or the rocks, and yet we had the temerity to try to soft
>land on the
>surface," recalled Gentry Lee, Solar System Exploration chief engineer at
>Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Lee was the science analysis and
>planning director for the Viking mission. "We were both terrified and
>exhilarated. All of
>us exploded with joy and pride when we saw that we had indeed landed
>"The Viking mission looms like a legendary giant, an incredible success
>against which all present and future missions will be measured," said Doug
>McCuiston, Mars Exploration Program director at NASA Headquarters in
>Originally designed to function for 90 days, the Viking spacecraft
>data for more than six years. The landers accumulated 4,500 up-close images
>Martian surface. The accompanying orbiters provided more than 50,000
>images, mapping 97 percent of the planet.
>Viking provided the first measurements of the atmosphere and surface of
>measurements are still being analyzed and interpreted. The data suggested
>was very different from the present day planet. Viking performed the first
>entry, descent and landing on Mars. Derivations of a Viking-style thermal
>system and parachute have been used on every U.S. Mars lander mission,
>Pathfinder and the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.
>NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., managed the Viking Program.
>Jet Propulsion Laboratory, managed by the California Institute of
>Pasadena, Calif., built the orbiters, provided the deep space network and
>science mission. NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, designed the
>launch vehicles that propelled the spacecraft on their journey. NASA's
>Center, Fla., provided the launch facility for the program. Scientists from
>served on the Viking science teams.
>For more information about Viking, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/viking .
>For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:
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