ewhac writes "30 years ago today, mankind paid our first visit to Mars. Viking 1 made its powered landing on the red planet on 20 July 1976 at 05:12 after an 11-month flight. Images and data from the probe were soon seen all over Earth as we got our first close-up look at our planetary neighbor. Viking 2 landed a few weeks later. Like the Pathfinder rovers that followed in 1997, Viking was expected to last but a short time -- only three months -- but instead continued to gather and return data for six years."