When Did the USSR’s Mars Program Begin and How Many Mars Program Spacecraft Touched Down On Mars Successfully?

The USSR’s Mars program, which had probes named after the planet, had more than its fair share of misfortune, including failed launches, unsuccessful attempts to leave Earth’s orbit, completely missing Mars, and even death.

Scientists set out to investigate the failed launch of an early probe; it exploded, killing most of the team.

Out of seven spacecraft, only one actually touched down.

Mars 3 reached the surface through a terrible dust storm on December 2, 1971.

It immediately began to send images to Earth, but shut down after 20 seconds.

The images and data collected by Mars 3 enabled creation of surface relief maps, and gave scientists information on Martian gravity and magnetic fields.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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