A trip to Mars has always held a special fascination for me and many others. Recently I saw a great documentary form YouTube on the subject. It highlighted the United States Space program’s various journey’s to Mars.
The first major mission was the Mariner series which mapped the surface, but the most interesting by far, even today, was the 1976 Viking mission that actually landed on the surface and did the first land reconnaissance of the planet. Very intriguing photo’s it produced of a red and dusty desert world. For all of you Star Wars fans out there I would even say it looked a bit like Tatooine. The Star Wars film hit movie theatres in 1977, just one year after the Viking Missions. I think that maybe this iconic photo’s of the red dusty planet gave George Lucas ideas for his own red, dusty desert world. If you are reading this Mr. Lucas I am sorry, but it appears I have found you out!
This piece really did have an interesting look at the Viking mission, according to the documentary 1976 was a year that NASA had a lot of expectations on. There really hasn’t been, in my opinion a mission to Mars that was that dramatic and iconic since then. Opportunity and Phoenix were just not that exciting. The only recent Mars mission that caught my attention was the recent mission launched by India to the red planet. This one is interesting because it is that nation’s first mission, and also because of the way that India structured its mission protocol. Everything apparently was made as cost effective as it could possibly be, it was all done on a so called, “shoe string budget” of just a few million dollars. This feat alone was very impressive. Just like the documentary, the Indian mission to Mars was an iconic moment in space exploration.