Today in History: Viking I Ascends to Mars


© CORBIS

Viking I:It was 38 years ago today that the Viking 1 departed on its mission to the red planet. It wasn't the first spacecraft on Mars (those honors go to the Soviet Union's Mars 3), but it was the first to successfully land and carry out its mission. Along with the Viking 2, it captured unprecedented images of Mars, plus atmospheric water vapor measurements and infrared thermal imaging.

So let's explore some of the stunning images from this mission, ranging from its glorious launch to its haunting images of another world.


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.