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30th Anniversary of Viking Landing on Mars 201

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."
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30th Anniversary of Viking Landing on Mars

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  • Dont forget (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:54PM (#15754134) []

    Still running and still producing valuable data
    reliability is what companies should really strive for, consumer throw-away disposable culture is a nasty disease and the sooner its extinct the better
  • by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:01PM (#15754172)
    Since when is the 37th anniversary significant? Definitely deserves a mention but 30 years is more of a milestone.
  • by windowpain ( 211052 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @11:07PM (#15754383) Journal
    I really don't think it's revisionism. I think it's ignorance. For the last couple of decades teaching has attracted more and more undergrads well below the 50th percentile in their graduating classes. I've known and spoken with a number of teachers. Their ignorance is blood-curdling.
  • Actually, no. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @11:29PM (#15754444) Homepage Journal
    First they colonised Europe. Then they colonised Russia. They left America to last. (The Irish beat them by 500 years, though - Brenden the Navigator was the first European in America. Well, aside from the guy who left that fossilized skull...)

    Getting to Mars, though - that was easy. You load up some berserkers with drugs until they're sky high, then explode some distilled mead to launch them across the void.

  • by GeorgeFitch3 ( 988277 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @11:55PM (#15754518)
    At least we're still sending robotic probes and such to Mars. When is the last time we sent a human to the moon? Where's our permanent moon base, and the flying cars we're supposed to have by now? :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 21, 2006 @01:19AM (#15754746)
    They gave up and switched their attention to Venus instead which they reached AFTER viking reached mars. Also straight from NASA itself

    Wait... so the russians sent Venera to Venus, which reached there in 1970 (yes nineteen seventy) yet they only did that AFTER they gave up their Mars program in 1974, and this all happened after Viking reached mars in 1976?

    I think you need to go find a dictionary and re-check the meaning of "after", or check your calendar isn't backwards.
  • by atomicstrawberry ( 955148 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @01:24AM (#15754760)
    Actually, NASA announced today they've renamed Project Constellation, the 'Return to the Moon' project, to Project Orion. It's also the official name being given to the CEV module that will be used to get people there. I have to wonder though if there might be some kind of ulterior motive going on with it, based off the names. Orion (the Hunter) modules in an Ares (god of war) rocket...
  • by Saven Marek ( 739395 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @01:42AM (#15754800)
    You may be technically correct, but they didn't achieve anything meaningful on the surface before the Viking probes. (As far as flyby missions, both countries had sent prior probes.) Therefore, the article summary really isn't the affront to history that you make it out to be.

    Except the article summary says "The solar system had welcomed its first interplanetary visitor from Earth" which is also completely wrong, as the USSR had reached venus in 1970, and venus is still part of the solar system. It landed safely, and sent back data. Venera 7, 8, 9 and 10 all landed on venus and sent back data before viking touched down on mars.

  • by CrazyTalk ( 662055 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:43AM (#15756228)
    True. But, being old enough to remember both occasions, Viking was a HUGE deal at the time. After all, there was still speculation that there could be (or was in the past) water and/or life on Mars. We had been to the moon, sure, but never an entirely new PLANET. No one knew for sure what the surface of the planet looked like. Unlike the moon, Mars had an atmosphere. I remember when the first pics came back they showed Mars with a blue sky and everyone was shocked as to how "earth like" it looked. Later they did the color-correcting and showed the pics with the reddish sky, but those first shots that looked like the Arizona desert on a cloudless day make an impression.

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments