Viking 1. Credit: NASA

Forty years ago, NASA spacecraft Viking 1 took the first photograph of the surface of Mars just moments after landing.

Viking 1 arrived on Mars on June 19, 1976 and was the first U.S. spacecraft to get to our neighbor planet.

The Viking Mars Mission consisted of an orbiter and lander. The Viking Orbiter 1 investigated the lander’s landing sites. The lander conducted biology experiments, collected science data and took photos. Both Viking 1 and Viking 2’s landers would find chemical activity on the surface of Mars. They also analyzed the atmosphere and discovered trace elements not previously detected.

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