Today in History: Viking 2 Lands on Mars

| September 3, 2019

Vl2_22g144-MarsViking2-19770925September 3rd, 1976 marks the day when Viking 2 landed on Mars; part of the American Viking Program to Mars, its mission was to search for evidence of life on the Red Planet. The lander operated on its surface for 1316 days and returned about 16,000 images to Earth. After its batteries failed on April 12th, 1980, NASA turned the orbiter off.

The Viking 2 orbiter touched down about 124 miles from the Utopia crater and cameras immediately began taking images and went on to experiment with the soil and grabble with the results, given the reaction of inorganic chemicals. While the topic of life on Mars remains controversial to this day, scientific evidence shows that huge river valleys existed in many areas of the planet and that rain once fell. Making Mars habitable by humans would require complex support systems, including water processing.

The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.

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