On this day 39 years ago, NASA’s Viking 1 spacecraft launched aboard a Titan/Centaur launch vehicle beginning its near year-long journey to Mars.
Immediately following touchdown, the Viking 1 lander made history by taking and transmitting the first complete photograph taken from the surface of Mars. The image (http://goo.gl/6C5L6m) was of the Viking 1 lander’s foot as an indication of how far it had sunk into the Martian surface. Between itself and its companion,Viking 2, this historic photograph was just the first of more than 50,000 images taken from the Martian surface, as well as from orbit, and transmitted back to Earth.
What makes Viking 1 especially worth nothing is that not only was the spacecraft the first attempt by the United States at landing on Mars, but it was also the first to successfully do so and perform its mission. During its operation on the Martian surface, Viking 1 became the record holder for longest Mars surface mission at 2307 days, until Mars Rover Opportunity took the record in 2010.
To read more about Viking 1: