Mars

What were the world’s efforts to reach Mars?

During the 1960s, competition between the Soviet Union and the USA was fierce as they battled to execute the first ever Mars flyby as well as send an orbiter and lander spacecraft to reach the red planet of our solar system. The Soviet Union tried to launch the first spacecraft to Mars on 10 October 1960, but this first attempt ended with a launch failure. Though the Soviet Union persistently pursued a number of missions to Mars during the 1960s, NASA ultimately beat them to Mars when they accomplished the first successful Mars flyby mission on November 28th, 1964. Since then, more countries have entered themselves into the competition to better understand Mars, and thus, our solar system.

With all of this information, you probably have a few questions! Some of them may be . . .

  • Which countries have participated in the Mars missions?
  • Which country has performed the greatest number of missions to Mars?
  • What percentage of Mars missions have resulted in failure? In success?
  • What were the results of the missions to Mars?

Discover the answers to these questions and more by taking a look at the detailed table below, which lists all of the world’s missions to Mars as well as relevant details including launch date, spacecraft details, mission goals, and mission results.

Missions to Mars

The below table includes all missions to Mars by world’s countries as per NASA[1], their launching dates, spacecraft details, missions aims, and missions results: 

Year [1]

Launch date [1]

Spacecraft [2]

Mission [1]

Result

Launcher [1]

1960

10 October 1960

1M No.1

Mars Flyby 

Launch Failure [1]

 

Soviet Union

14 October 1960

1M No.2

Mars Flyby 

Launch Failure [1]

 

Soviet Union

1962

24 October 1962

2MV-4 No.1

Attempted Mars Flyby

Launch Failure [2]

 

Soviet Union

1 November 1962

Mars 1

Mars Flyby

Contact lost [1]

 

Soviet Union

 4 November 1962 

2MV-3 No.1

Attempted Mars Lander

Launch Failure [2]

 

Soviet Union

1964

5 November 1964

Mariner 3

Attempted Mars Flyby

Launch Failure [2]

 

NASA

United States

28 November 1964

Mariner 4

Mars Flyby

Successful [3]

 

NASA

United States

30 November 1964

Zond 2

Mars Flyby (Contact Lost)

Contact lost [2]

 

Soviet Union

1969

25 February 1969

Mariner 6

Mars Flyby

Successful [4]

 

NASA

United States

27 March 1969

2M No.521

Mars Flyby 

Launch Failure [2]

 

Soviet Union

27 March 1969

Mariner 7

Attempted Mars Orbiter (Launch Failure)

Successful [5]

 

NASA

United States

2 April 1969

2M No.522

Attempted Mars Orbiter (Launch Failure)

Launch Failure [2]

 

Soviet Union

1971

9 May 1971

Mariner 8

Attempted Mars Flyby (Launch Failure)

Launch Failure [2]

 

NASA

United States

10 May 1971

Kosmos 419

Attempted Mars Orbiter/Lander

Launch Failure [2]

 

Soviet Union

19 May 1971

Mars 2

Mars Orbiter/ Attempted Lander

Successful [2]

 

Soviet Union

28 May 1971

Mars 3

Mars Orbiter/ Lander

Successful orbiter and partial failure lander [2]

 

Soviet Union

30 May 1971

Mariner 9

 Mars Orbiter

Successful [6]

 

NASA

United States

1973

21 July 1973

Mars 4

Mars Flyby (Attempted Mars Orbiter)

Spacecraft failure [2]

 

Soviet Union

25 July 1973

Mars 5

Mars Orbiter

Partial failure [2]

 

Soviet Union

5 August 1973 

Mars 6

Mars Lander (Contact Lost)

Spacecraft failure [2]

 

Soviet Union

9 August 1973

Mars 7

Mars Flyby (Attempted Mars Lander)

Spacecraft failure [2]

 

Soviet Union

1975

20 August 1975

Viking 1

Mars Orbiter and Lander

Successful orbiter and lander [7]

 

NASA

United States

9 September 1975

Viking 2

Mars Orbiter and Lander

Successful orbiter and lander [7]

 

NASA

United States

1988

7 July 1988

Phobos 1

Attempted Mars Orbiter/Phobos Landers

Spacecraft failure [2]

 

Soviet Union

12 July 1988

Phobos 2

Mars Orbiter/Attempted Phobos Landers

Partial failure [2]

 

Soviet Union

1992

25 September 1992

Mars Observer

Attempted Mars Orbiter (Contact Lost)

Spacecraft failure [2]

 

NASA

United States

1996

07 November 1996

Mars Global Surveyor

Mars Orbiter

Successful [8]

 

NASA

United States

16 November 1996

Mars 96

Attempted Mars Orbiter/Landers

Launch failure [2]

Rosaviakosmos

Russia

04 December 1996

Mars Pathfinder

Mars Lander and Rover

Successful [10]

 

NASA

United States

1998

3 July 1998

Nozomi

Mars Orbiter

Spacecraft failure [2]

Japan

11 December 1998 

Mars Climate Orbiter

Attempted Mars Orbiter

Spacecraft failure [2]

 

NASA

United States

1999

3 January 1999

Mars Polar Lander

Attempted Mars Lander

Spacecraft failure [2]

 

NASA

United States

3 January 1999

Deep Space 2

Attempted Mars Penetrators

Spacecraft failure [2]

 

NASA

United States

2001

7 April 2001

Mars Odyssey

Mars Orbiter

Successful; expected to be operating until 2025[9]

 

NASA

United States

2003

2 June 2003

Mars Express

Mars Orbiter and Lander

Successful orbiter; expected to be operating until 2025 and failed lander [2]

 

ESA

European Union

10 June 2003

Spirit

Mars Rover

Successful [10]

 

NASA

United States

 8 July 2003

Opportunity

Mars Rover

Successful [11]

 

NASA

United States

2005

12 August 2005

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Mars Orbiter

Successful [12]

 

NASA

United States

2007

04 August 2007

Phoenix

Mars Scout Lander

Successful [13]

 

NASA

United States

2011

08 November 2011

Fobos-Grunt

Attempted Martian Moon Phobos Lander

Spacecraft failure [2]

Roskosmos

Russia

08 November 2011

Yinghuo-1

Attempted Mars Orbiter

Failure [2]

CNSA

China

26 November 2011

Curiosity

Mars Rover

Successful [14]

 

NASA

United States

2013

 05 November 2013

Mars Orbiter Mission

Mars Orbiter

Successful [2]

ISRO

India

18 November 2013

MAVEN

Mars Scout Mission Orbiter

Successful [15]

 

NASA

United States

2016

14 March 2016

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

Mars Orbiter and Lander

Successful [2]

 

ESA

European Union

2018

5 May 2018

InSight & MarCO

Mars Lander

Spacecraft failure [2]

 

NASA

United States

Which countries participated in the Mars missions?

At the beginning of the 1960s, the Soviet Union and the USA were the only two countries participating in the Mars missions. It is recorded that Russia completed its first Mars mission in 1996. Following the Soviet Union, the USA, and Russia, Japan was the next to take part in the Mars missions with the launch of its Mars Orbiter mission. Though this first mission resulted in the failure of its spacecraft, Nozomi, it seemed to spark a global excitement for the Mars Missions: After Japan, many of the world’s countries stepped up to join in the Mars missions, including China, India, and the countries of the European Union.

Which country has performed the greatest number of missions to Mars?

Among the long list of participants taking part in the Mars missions, the United States and the Soviet Union continue to hold onto their spots as having performed the greatest number of Mars missions:

  • The United States has conducted 22 (both successful and unsuccessful) Mars missions including Mars flybys, orbiters, and lander missions.
  • The Soviet Union has conducted 17 (successful and unsuccessful) Mars missions including Mars flybys, orbiters, and lander missions.

Which country has carried out the most successful Mars missions?

The United States is recorded as having carried out the most successful missions to Mars among the world’s countries; boasting 14 successful missions out of the total of 22 missions — a 63% success rate.

What percentage of the Mars missions were failures?

The data below summarizes the Mars missions and their success and failure rates as of May 2018:

World Wide:

  • Total number of Mars missions: 46
  • Successful Mars missions: 18
  • Failed Mars missions: 28
  • Percent of successful Mars missions: 40%
  • Percent of failed Mars missions: 60%

NASA Wide:

  • Total number of Mars missions: 22
  • Successful Mars missions: 14
  • Failed Mars missions: 8
  • Percent of successful Mars missions: 63%
  • Percent of failed Mars missions: 37%

 

 

Hani Kittaneh

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Hani Kittaneh

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