Vikings spotted on Mars

Vikings spotted on Mars

Vikings spotted on Mars

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Dec. 4 2006 10:13 PM

Vikings spotted on Mars

No, not the pillaging kind. The kind NASA Landed there back in the 1970s.

Check. It. Out. HiRISE pictures of the Viking 1 lander:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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Click it for a close-up of the Viking lander. I had to compress the image and crop it mightily or else my monthly bandwidth would get chewed up in one day. You can get the very big (3.4 Mb, 20Mpix) higher-res image on the HiRISE website (and really, that's a sub-image of the actual full frame image which is far bigger). They have also gotten a (not quite as cool) image of the Viking 2 lander as well.

I remember when Viking 1 landed on Mars (it was 1976). I was still pretty young, but I was very excited about it. That's all I remember, actually, because now my memory is distorted a bit from watching Carl Sagan stand in front of a Viking model in "Cosmos". But things were buzzing back then. Funny: I always remember Viking 1 as the first time a probe returned an image from the surface of another planet, but that honor is held by the Russian Venera 9 Venus probe. That's why I try to check my facts before posting!

Anyway, we've come a long way since Viking. Well, it's the same distance we went before, but the technology is a weensy bit better.

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And the HiRISE images just keep coming, and they are so cool. They got the Spirit rover landing site as well:

The rover's not there, of course. It's been busy roving around now for three years. Oh wait: HiRISE caught it, too:

You can clearly see the rover tracks. That picture was taken on September 29, so that's pretty much where the rover sits now.

Need I remind you? These are pictures of Mars. That last one was taken when Mars was 372 million km (220 million miles) away!

I know, I know, I'm gushing, and I've gushed before. But these are pictures of another planet! Cool cool cool!