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Key Space Mission: Viking Mission To Mars

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Describe The Viking dual orbiter/lander mission to Mars. and give an account of the mission, describing the challenges it had to overcome and the mission’s. achievements.



The Viking project of NASA was specifically a culmination of the missions that were originally explored to the mars and has begun in the year 1964 along with the help of Mariner 4. The continued services of the Mariner in the 7 and the 6 fly bags the entire mariner 9 orbited its mission in the year 1972 and 1971. The space ship Vikings found that there is a special place of the satellite in the history of the world as it became the first American satellite or mission to land as a spaceship successfully on the surface of Mars. There are basically two spaceships that are quite identical and at the same time consist of several Landers and orbiters that were built during the mission (Apak 2008, p. 187). All the orbiters and the Landers flew along with each other like a pair and entered into the mars orbit without any problem. Then Landers descended downwards to the surface of the planet and the orbiter was also separated at the same time.

Mission Design

Both the orbiter and the Lander were launched from Florida right on 20th August 1975 that was the release date of Viking 1 and 9th September 1975 that was the release of Viking 2. The orbiter and the Landers were sterilized perfectly before the launch so that it can be prevented from all types of contamination for the organisms that are present on the surface of the Mars. The first spaceship that is the Viking 1 reached mars on June 19, 1976 and the second one that is the orbiter reached mars on August 7, 1976. After the astronauts went through all the photographs it was figured out that the site of the mars were actually certified by the verification department of the Viking team which was considered after completing the proposed landing test (Zimbelman and Others 1997, p. 4161). The spaceship Viking 1 was considered to be unsafe as the team members considered and examined the landing area on July 20, 1976. The main reason behind this problem was the western slope that consisted on the plains of Planitia that is also considered as the plains of gold at a northern degree of 22.3 latitude and 48.0 longitudes.  Hence the team decided to shift the landing site of Viking 2 that was examined to be unsafe along with the photos that proved it be quite unsafe. The Viking mission was planned to be continued after 90 days of Landing. But both the Lander and the Orbiter lasted a much longer time that it was expected which was around 4 years.


Viking Orbiters

The Viking spaceship consisted of two space shuttles. One was the Orbiter and the other was the Lander. Both the spaceships weighted nearly 2325 kilograms and also consists a Lander in both of them that weighted nearly 576 kilograms. The design of the spaceship was also influenced by the size of the Landers that were huge and at the same time was highly acclaimed by the inventors and they were also pretty sure that both the spaceship would definitely last for a much longer time (Minelli and Others 2004, p. 255-262). The design of the Mariner was modeled according to the planetary spacecrafts that were designed for the surface mission. The requirements of the lifetime orbiters were dependent to be nearly 90 days or 120 days after their successful landing. These orbiters were also considered to be one of the best at that time as all the landing criteria were involved with the petition of the team that were actually handling all the consequences of the programs that were involved in the program accordingly. The orbiters also contained the control sub system that was also operated with the help of the inertia mode along with several yaw control specifications and pitches. The attitude control system was also aligned with the engine burns that were provided by the control system and the auto pilot section are the ones that used to command the engine in all types of problems (Palluconi and Others 1977, p. 4249-4291). The sun lock system also was lost along with the control system that can automatically align the spacecrafts and result in the loss of the Canopus sub system. The members of the team waited for the signal and then just turned on the gas supply section for the other subsystem and the Lander subsystem.

Viking Landers

The Lander spacecrafts were build up of five systems that were the Lander body, the bio shield cap, the base section, the aero shell subsystem and the parachute system. The complete Lander measured nearly 3 meters and weighted nearly 576 kilograms that is nearly 1270 pounds without fuel injection. The body of the Lander was built on a raised platform that is filled with scientific operators and subsystem. The box inside the Lander was completely built of aluminum and titanium alloys that can be insulated in the fiberglass system and along with a cloth that will protect the space ship from losing the heat content of the system (Klein 1979, p. 1655). The entire spaceship is covered with plate’s right from the top to the bottom. The body of the Lander was supported by the three specific legs that were also attached to the bottom corner of the body and the legs provided the air ship with and edge and a ground clearance of nearly 22 centimeters. The legs were usually connected to the main strut right from the frame assembly in all prospects. The terminal landing radar were measured at a huge velocity for the Landers in the landing phase of the spaceship and it was also directly located to the system that was nearly 12 Kilometers above the surface level and consisted of four Doppler radar that helped the entire unit to calculate the essentials factors of the mission and the prospect that there is still life contented on earth and the other structures that combined all the features that are beneficial for the system and for mankind. The above mission is also considered to be one of the most decisive moments in history.  


Knowledge research

Viking mission or project of was the result or the outcomes of the Mars mission. The NASA was construct two different kind of spacecraft or spaceship namely Viking 1 and Viking 2. The Viking 1 and Viking 2 is constructing by the help of the different components according to their works like photography as well as knowing the surface of the Mars (Klein 1974, p. 431-441). The Viking Orbiter was constructor propose for the photography of the Mars as well as for the Lander propose for the knowing and collecting the surface information of the Mars. After the landing of Viking 1 and Viking 2, the Viking 2 (Viking Lander 2) was identify the surface of the Mars as well as collecting lost of information and data. The Viking 2 was also recording wind velocity of the landing surface of the Mars. According to the Viking 2 (Viking Lander 2) some microorganism was present in the surface of the Mars (Landing area of the Viking 1 as well as Viking 2) but there was no clear identification or evidence for the microorganism. The Viking 2 (Viking Lander 2) was also detected the soli (Martine Soil) of the Mars. According to the provided data of the Viking Mission or the Viking 2 (Viking Lander 2), “The Mars is self sterilizing”.

According to the Viking Mission or Viking 2 (Viking Lander 2) provided data, the researchers groups or teams was identify the nature of the soil of Mars or Martine soil as well as they was also describe that, the solar UV (Ultraviolet) radiation of the surface of the Mars are much more respect of the surface of the Earth (Levin and Others 1976, p. 24-27). For that reason the soil or the Martine soil of the Mars are more dry respect of the soil of the Earth or surface of the Earth. The Martine soil or the soil of the Mars are  acute dry as well as according to the chemistry or the researchers group or teams it is define that the soil of the Mars or the Martine soli  are oxidizing character or oxidation in nature, which is formally  shows that the microorganism or living organism are present in Mars.


The Viking Team

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is government agency of the United State (US). The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are responsible for space program as well as researches about the aerospace and aeronautics.  The Viking Mission (Viking 1 and Viking 2) was also controlling and managing by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (Mac Carron and Kenna 2013, p. 12-17). The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA was fully manage and controlling the whole Viking Mission or Program (Viking 1 and Viking 2) from beginning of the mission 1968 to 1st April, 1978. Various leaders of the scientific team were also included in the Viking Team and included Mr. Michael Carr that represented the geological survey of India. Then Mr. Melon park who was the team leader of the imagining orbiter investigation department. There was also an involvement of Dr Crofton that is the leader of the water structure mapping system and Mr. Hugh who is involved with the space department and is from the University of California. There were also members from the Los Angeles team headed by Sir Alfred Nier from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis (Margulis and Others, 1978). There were also people from the science entry system of investigation that included Dr Thomas from the Mutch of Brown University and also the team leader of the imagining investigation department that also included all the members that are deeply associated with space science and Astronomy to a great extent.



The Viking Mission or Program (Viking 1 and Viking 2) was managing and controlling by the government organization National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of United State (US). The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) were also collecting all the data as well as information like photography by Viking Orbits and surface data or soil information by Viking Lander (Mudgway, 1983). According to the Viking 1 as well as Viking 2 data or information set, it is clear that the soil or Martine soil of the mars is more dry respect of the Earth soil. The Martine soil or the soil of the Mars is consisting by the help of some rich iron substances or elements, which is containing extremely oxidizing element or substances. The oxidizing substance or extremely rich iron clay is provided or releasing oxygen when it is wet, therefore it is clear that the microorganisms or micro compounds are present in Mars but Viking 1 as well as Viking 2 was didn’t provide any evidence. The Viking 1 as well as Viking 2 just provided some basic data ort information. The Viking 1 as well as Viking 2 was also provided some basic data of the Mars surface like Martine soil or the Martine surface of Mars are didn’t containing any type of organic molecules. It is measurable by the part per billion level of the soil or Martine soil of the Mars, which is quite less than the respect of Moon surface or soil (soil sample containing by the Apollo) (Meyer 2012, p. 3-4). According to the Viking 1 and Viking 2 data set or information it was clear that the atmospheric pressure of the Mars surface is differ by 30% for the period of the Martine year, because the carbon dioxide (CO2) was compress as well as sublimes at the polar caps of the Mars surface. In the Viking mission or program, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) team was observed that the radio signals was coming late or delay in between the receiver and Viking 1 as well as Viking 2. After some words it was observed that the delay of the radioactive signals due to the gravitational field of the Sun.



3.9. Extended viking mission to Mars termed successful. (1982). COSPAR Information Bulletin, 1982(94), pp.66-67.

Anon, (2015). [online] Available at: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/fact_sheets/viking.pdf [Accessed 25 Jan. 2015].

Apak, R. (2008). Life detection experiments of the Viking Mission on Mars can be best interpreted with a Fenton oxidation reaction composed of H2O2 and Fe2+ and iron-catalysed decomposition of H2O2. Int.Jnl Astrobiol., 7(3-4), p.187.

Cattermole, P. (2001). Mars. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Corliss, W. (1974). The Viking mission to Mars. Washington: Scientific and Technical Information Office, National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Corliss, W. (1975). The Viking mission to Mars. Washington: Scientific and Technical Information Office, National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Craddock, R., Crumpler, L., Aubele, J. and Zimbelman, J. (1997). Geology of central Chryse Planitia and the Viking 1 landing site: Implications for the Mars Pathfinder mission. J. Geophys. Res., 102(E2), p.4161.

Frigeri, A., Federico, C., Pauselli, C. and Minelli, G. (2004). Identifying Wrinkle Ridges from Mars MGS and Viking Mission Data: Using GRASS GIS in Planetary Geology. Transactions in GIS, 8(2), pp.255-262.

Kieffer, H., Martin, T., Peterfreund, A., Jakosky, B., Miner, E. and Palluconi, F. (1977). Thermal and albedo mapping of Mars during the Viking primary mission. J. Geophys. Res., 82(28), pp.4249-4291.

Klein, H. (1974). Automated life-detection experiments for the Viking mission to Mars. Origins of Life, 5(3-4), pp.431-441.

Klein, H. (1979). The Viking mission and the search for life on Mars. Rev. Geophys., 17(7), p.1655.

Klein, H., Lederberg, J., Rich, A., Horowitz, N., Oyama, V. and Levin, G. (1976). The Viking Mission search for life on Mars. Nature, 262(5563), pp.24-27.

Mac Carron, P. and Kenna, R. (2013). Viking sagas: Six degrees of Icelandic separation Social networks from the Viking era. Significance, 10(6), pp.12-17.

Margulis, L., Mazur, P., Barghoorn, E., Halvorson, H., Jukes, T. and Kaplan, I. (1979). The Viking mission: Implications for life on Mars. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 14(1-3), pp.223-232.

Mazur, P., Barghoorn, E., Halvorson, H., Jukes, T., Kaplan, I. and Margulis, L. (1978). Biological implications of the Viking mission to Mars. Space Sci Rev, 22(1).

Meyer, M. (2012). Foreword: Mars Science Laboratory, the First Astrobiology Mission to Mars Since Viking. Space Sci Rev, 170(1-4), pp.3-4.

Mudgway, D. (1983). Telecommunications and data acquisition systems support for the Viking 1975 mission to Mars. Pasadena, Calif.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.

NIER, A. and MCELROY, M. (1976). Structure of the Neutral Upper Atmosphere of Mars: Results from Viking 1 and Viking 2. Science, 194(4271), pp.1298-1300.

Snyder, C. (1979). The planet Mars as seen at the end of the Viking Mission. J. Geophys. Res., 84(B14), p.8487.

Snyder, C. and Evans, N. (1981). The final phases of the Viking mission to Mars. Icarus, 45(1), pp.2-24.

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Thorpe, T. (1979). A history of Mars atmospheric opacity in the Southern Hemisphere during the Viking extended mission. J. Geophys. Res., 84(A11), p.6663.

Veverka, J., Thomas, P. and Greeley, R. (1977). A study of variable features on Mars during the Viking primary mission. J. Geophys. Res., 82(28), pp.4167-4188.

Vogt, G. (1991). Mars landing and the Viking. Brookfield, Conn.: Millbrook Press.


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