Arago: Exhibits

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Mission To Mars

Lander, Mars, Viking, Proof Test Article

This is the proof test article of the Viking Mars Lander. While Viking 1 and 2 were on Mars, this third vehicle was used on Earth to simulate their behavior and to test their responses to radio commands. Earlier, it had been used to demonstrate that the landers could survive the stresses they would encounter during the mission.

On July 20, 1976, seven years after astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first walked on the Moon, Viking 1 landed successfully on the surface of the planet Mars. For the next six years, Viking 1 took pictures of the Mars surface and collected various other scientific data about the planet and its environment.

The United States Postal Service celebrated the Viking Mission with a postage stamp. Issued July 20, 1978, the stamp marked the two year anniversary of Viking 1’s landing on the red planet. The stamp depicts Viking 1 collecting soil from the surface of Mars.