50 years of Mars exploration

2015 marks 50 years of successful NASA missions to Mars starting with Mariner 4 in 1965. Since then, a total of 15 robotic missions led by various NASA centres have laid the groundwork for future human missions to the Red Planet. The journey to Mars continues with additional robotic missions planned for 2016 and 2020, and human missions in the 2030s.

Video source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory / YouTube.

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VOICE: Hey. There we go. There she goes. That’s data.

ANNOUNCER: There’s some sort of pattern to the data, and we have now full confidence that this does indeed correspond to a photograph of Mars.

TITLE: NASA’s Journey to Mars

TITLE: Mariner 4, 1965

(Crowd noise)

VOICE 1: Upon preliminary analysis of this data, can you describe what you see on Mars?

VOICE 2: Yes, it’s there!

TITLE: Mariners 6 & 7, 1969

TITLE: Mariner 9, 1971

TITLE: Vikings 1 & 2, 1976


TITLE: Mars Global Surveyor, 1996

TITLE: Mars Pathfinder, 1996


TITLE: Mars Odyssey, 2001

TITLE: Mars Exploration Rovers, 2003

VOICE: The rover has landed base pedal down, which means right side up.


TITLE: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, 2005

TITLE: Phoenix Lander, 2008

ANNOUNCER: 50 metres. 30 metres. 27 metres. 20 metres. 16 metres. Standing by for touchdown.


TITLE: Curiosity, 2012


NASA ADMINISTRATOR CHARLES BOLDEN: Led by the extraordinary men and women of NASA and our Jet Propulsion Laboratory, right now, the wheels of Curiosity have begun to blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars.

JOHN HOLDREN, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy: Well, today on Mars, history was made on Earth. The successful landing of Curiosity will stand as an American point of pride far into the future.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I just wanted to call and say congratulations to the Mars Science Laboratory team and, really, all of JPL. You guys should be remarkably proud.

TITLE: Maven, 2013

TITLE: Insight, coming 2016

TITLE: Mars 2020 Rover, coming 2020

So you want to go to Mars...

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