We just love this chart! It’s a visual representation of every spacecraft that has ever reached Mars. We’re always so excited to see new space missions—and it’s especially exciting when they make it to Mars! We can’t wait to see what happens next.
The red planet has been a topic of human fascination for millennia. But, the first successful mission to Mars didn’t happen until 1971. Since then, we’ve sent more than 50 missions to the planet. In this chart, we highlight every spacecraft that’s reached Mars and what happened during its journey.
This chart shows every spacecraft ever to reach Mars. There are currently 28 missions that have successfully left Earth and entered Mars orbit, or landed on the surface of Mars. Dozens more failed attempts litter the chart—with some lasting longer than others. (The Soviet Union’s Phobos Grunt probe launched in 2011, but never reached its destination.)
There have been a total of 50 missions to Mars. These include 21 successful landings and 27 failures or partial successes. The first successful landing was the Soviet Union’s Mars 3 spacecraft, which landed on December 2, 1971. The majority of the spacecraft that have traveled to Mars have been orbiters (19); flybys (10); rovers (6) and sample return capsules (1). Mars has been a topic of human fascination for millennia. The planet’s red color is likely due to iron oxide, but the details of its surface are still a matter of speculation. Scientists have determined that Mars was once very similar to Earth, with a thicker atmosphere and warmer climate that allowed liquid water to flow on its surface (though not enough for there to be oceans). But now it’s cold and dry—and in some places, quite dusty.
Even though only 21 missions have been successful, there is no doubt that the scientific knowledge we have gained from these missions is invaluable. If you’re interested in learning more about this subject and how it pertains to your life, check out our other blog posts!