Mars24 Sunclock — Time on Mars
Mars Lander Missions
Following is a list of lander missions that have reached Mars — successfully and otherwise — and others that are planned, as well as short notes about each:
Mars Science Laboratory, aka Curiosity:
NASA rover mission that landed Aug. 6, 2012 (UTC; late Aug. 5 in US Pacific time) at 137.44°E 4.59°S in Gale Crater. The landing site is also known as Bradbury Landing. Nominal mission duration was 668 sols (i.e., 1 Mars year), but the rover remains active as of Sol 3159 of its mission (June 24, 2021). Since landing, the rover has traveled about 20 km.
NASA stationary probe that landed Nov. 26, 2018, in Elysium Planitia, at 135.62°E 4.50°N. Nominal mission period was 709 sols (roughly 2 Earth years), but the lander remains active as of Sol 917 of its mission (June 24, 2021). However, there are concerns about dust build-up on its solar panels as Mars approaches aphelion.
Mars 2020, aka Perseverance:
NASA rover project that landed Feb. 18, 2021, in Jezero Crater, at 77.45°E 18.44°N. The landing site is also known as Octavia E. Butler Landing.
Lander-rover component of CNSA's 2020 combined Tianwen-1 orbiter-lander-rover project that touched down May 15, 2021 (UTC; May 14 in US time) at about 109.9°E 25.1°N (according to news reports) in the south of Utopia Planitia. The overall project was previously known during development as Huoxing-1 (HX-1).
ExoMars 2022 Rover and Surface Platform:
Combined ESA Rosalind Franklin rover and Roscosmos Kazachok stationary platform scheduled (as of spring 2021) for launch in summer 2022. Originally announced with intention to launch in 2018, subsequently rescheduled to 2020, and then rescheduled again to the 2022 launch window due to issues whose resolution was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. In summer 2019, it was confirmed that the rover's target landing site would be in Oxia Planum, at roughly 335.45°E 18.20°N.
- ESA mission overview (esa.int)
- Landing site (esa.int)
- Rover name (esa.int)
- Stationary platform name (space.com)
- Delay to 2022 launch window (esa.int)
Past Successful Landers
Viking Lander 1:
NASA staionary lander that touched down on July 20, 1976, at 312.05°E 22.27°N in Chryse Planitia. The landing site is also known as Thomas Mutch Memorial Station. This was the first completely successful Mars landing. The lander was active until mission Sol 2243 (Nov. 11, 1982). Its companion orbiter operated until Aug. 7, 1980.
Viking Lander 2:
NASA stationary probe that touched down Sep. 3, 1976, at 134.28°E 48.27°N in Utopia Planitia. The landing site is also known as Gerald Soffen Memorial Station. The lander was active until mission Sol 1280 (Apr. 11, 1980). Its companion orbiter operated until July 7, 1978.
NASA stationary probe that landed July 4, 1997, at 326.75°E 19.47°N in Ares Vallis. The landing site is also known as Carl Sagan Memorial Station. The last transmission received from Mars Pathfinder lander came on mission Sol 93 (Oct. 7, 1997). The lander included a small rover called Sojourner, which traveled about 100 meters during the course of the mission.
Mars Exploration Rover A, aka Spirit:
NASA rover that landed Jan. 4, 2004, (UTC; late Jan. 3 in US time) at 175.48°E -14.57°N in Gusev Crater. The landing site is also known as Columbia Memorial Station. Nominal mission duration was 90 sols (i.e., to Apr. 4, 2004), but the rover continued to operate for six Earth years. In May 2009 the rover became stuck in soft soil, which prevented it from best orienting its solar panels during the upcoming winter. The last communication from Spirit was received on mission Sol 2210 (Mar. 22, 2010), and NASA officially ended the mission in May 2011.
Mars Exploration Rover B, aka Opportunity:
NASA rover that landed Jan. 25, 2004, at 354.47°E -1.95°N in Meridiani Planum. The landing site is also known as Challenger Memorial Station. Nominal mission duration was 90 sols (i.e., until Apr. 25, 2004), but the rover continued to operate for 14 Earth years. On Sol 5111 of its mission (June 10, 2018), it went into a sleep mode to wait out a "historic" dust storm. After numerous attempts to re-establish radio contact with Opportunity failed following the storm's abatement, the mission was declared at an end on Feb. 13, 2019. The rover had traveled about 45 km since landing.
NASA Mars Scout stationary probe that landed May 25, 2008, at 234.25°E 68.22°N in the Vastitas Borealis. Nominal mission period was to extend into late October 2008, at which time the change of seasons at this latitude was expected to result in the lander no longer receiving enough sunlight for its solar panels to provide power. The last communication from the lander was received on mission Sol 156 (Nov. 2, 2008). Imagery later obtained by orbiters suggests that the weight of ice accumulated during the subsequent boreal Mars winter had broken off the lander's solar panels.
Past Unsuccessful Landers
The following missions either failed during descent, or were unable to communicate following landing.
Mars 2 Lander:
Soviet Union stationary probe that failed during descent on Nov. 27, 1971, and impacted at about 47°E -45°N in Hellas Planitia. It was probably damaged by descent during a global dust storm. Its companion orbiter operated for several months.
- NSSDCA entry (nasa.gov)
Mars 3 Lander:
Soviet Union stationary probe that landed Dec. 2, 1971, at about 202°E -45°N in Ptolemaeus Crater in Terra Sirenum. This was the first landing attempt with any degree of success. The lander began transmitting a test image on landing, but fell silent after about 20 sec and no further communication was received. The lander may have been damaged by descent during a global dust storm, or the dust storm may have caused a corona discharge. The companion Mars 3 Orbiter operated for several months.
Soviet Union stationary probe that failed during descent Mar. 12, 1974, and impacted at about 19.42°W -23.90°N near Samara Valles. A few minutes of unreadable descent data were transmitted, but transmissions ceased in "direct proximity to the surface". The associated Mars 7 lander, scheduled to land three days earlier, failed to descend to the Mars surface due to retrorocket failure.
Mars Polar Lander:
NASA stationary probe that likley crashed on descent Dec. 3, 1999, and impacted at about 195.3°W -76.1°N in the Planum Australae. Failure is believed to have been caused by premature descent engine shutdown. MPL also carried two small "Deep Space 2" microprobes to be deployed during descent and which presumably impacted about 60 km away at about 196.5°W -75.0°N.
ESA/British Mars Express stationary probe deployed by the Mars Express Orbiter and which landed Dec. 25, 2003, at 90.43°E, 11.53°N. in Isidis Planitia. Communication with Beagle 2 was not re-established after it separated from the orbiter. It was announced in January 2015 that the probe had been found about 5 km from its target landing site, apparently intact, but the impact of landing presumably prevented it from fully deploying. The Mars Express Orbiter remains in operation as of spring 2021.
- NSSDCA entry (nasa.gov)
- ESA Mars Express mission website (esa.int)
- MGS/MOC image (msss.com)
- MRO/HiRise image (nasa.gov)
ExoMars 2016 Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module / Schiaparelli:
ESA stationary probe that failed during descent Oct. 19, 2016, and impacted at 353.79°E 2.07°S in Meridiani Planum, in the area of NASA's MER-B Opportunity rover. The probe suffered premature parachute ejection and retrorocket shutdown during descent. The impact location is reported to have been about 5.5 km west of the planned landing site. The companion ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) remains in operation as of spirng 2021.
- ESA ExoMars 2016 mission website (esa.int)
- MRO/CTX image (nasa.gov)
- MRO/HiRISE image (nasa.gov)
- Crash site discovery (bbc.com)
VL1, VL2 and MPF landing site coordinates are taken from Kuchynka et al. (2014).
MER-A and MER-B landing site coordinates are taken from papers by Li et al (2005, 2006, 2007).
PHX landing site coordinates were provided by D. Bass.
MSL landing site coordinates were provided by A. Vasavada, B. Semenov and J. Crisp.
NSYT landing site coordinates were provided by B. Semenov.
M20 landing site coordinates were provided by F. Calef via B.Semenov.
BEA landing site coordinate are taken from Bridges et al. (2017).