Mars24 Sunclock — Time on Mars

Mars Lander Missions

Following is a list of lander missions that have reached Mars and a few others that are planned, as well as a few notes about each:

Active Landers

(In order of most recent first.)

NSYT = InSight: Stationary NASA probe that landed Nov. 26, 2018, in Elysium Planitia, at roughly 135.625°E 4.5°N. This location is about 0.35° west of the target landing site.

MSL = Mars Science Laboratory / Curiosity:
The NASA rover mission that landed Aug. 6, 2012, (UTC; late Aug. 5 in, US Pacific time) at 137.44°E 4.59°N (aka, Bradbury Landing) in Gale Crater. Nominal mission duration was 1 Mars year (668 sols), but the rover remains active as of Sol 2254 of its mission (Dec. 9, 2018). Since landing, the rover has traveled about 20 km.

MERB = Mars Exploration Rover B / Opportunity: NASA rover that landed Jan. 25, 2004, at 354.47°E -1.95°N (aka, Challenger Memorial Station) in Meridiani Planum. Nominal mission duration was 90 sols (i.e., until Apr. 25, 2004), but the rover remained active until Sol 5111 of its mission (June 10, 2018), at which time it went into a sleep mode to wait out a massive dust storm. As of Nov. 27, 2018, no further communication had been received from the rover, but active attempts to contact the rover were to continue until January 2019. Since landing, the rover had traveled about 45 km.


Planned Landers

Note: None of the following planned missions is specifically included in the Mars24 landmarks list. However, the NASA 2020 site may be approximately marked on the sunclock by selecting Jezero Crater, and the ExoMars 2020 site by selecting Oxia Planum.

Mars 2020: NASA rover project announced in July 2016 and intended for launch in summer 2020 with landing in February 2021, using a design similar to that of MSL Curiosity but with different science payload. A mission name is yet to be announced. it was announced in November 2018 that the landing site would be in Jezero Crater, at about 77.3°E 18.3°N.

ExoMars 2020: Combined ESA rover and Roscosmos stationary platform that will launch in summer 2020 with landing in April 2021. In November 2018, it was announced that landing would occur in Oxia Planum, roughly 335.5°E 18.3°N.

China 2020: Combined rover and orbiter project announced in August 2016 and intended for launch in summer 2020, with rover landing in April 2021. A mission name and landing site have not been announced. Candidate landing areas in Chryse Planitia and in Isidis Planitia have been reported.


Past Successful Landers

(In order of landing.)

VL1 = Viking Lander 1: NASA probe that landed July 20, 1976, at 312.05°E 22.27°N (aka, Thomas Mutch Memorial Station) in Chryse Planitia. This was the first successful Mars landing. The lander was active until mission Sol 2243 (Nov. 11, 1982), while its companion orbiter operated until Aug. 7, 1980.

VL2 = Viking Lander 2: NASA probe that landed Sep. 3, 1976, at 134.28°E 48.27°N (aka, Gerald Soffen Memorial Station) in Utopia Planitia. The lander was active until mission Sol 1280 (Apr. 11, 1980); its companion orbiter operated until July 7, 1978.

MPF = Mars Pathfinder: NASA probe that landed July 4, 1997, at 326.75°E 19.47°N (aka, Carl Sagan Memorial Station) in Ares Vallis. 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.

MERA = Mars Exploration Rover A / Spirit: NASA rover that landed Jan. 4, 2004 (UTC; late Jan. 3 in US time) at 175.48°E -14.57°N (aka, Columbia Memorial Station) in Gusev Crater. Nominal mission duration was 90 sols (i.e., to Apr. 4, 2004), but the rover continued to operate for 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 Sol 2210 (Mar. 22, 2010), and NASA officially ended the mission in May 2011.

PHX = Mars Phoenix: NASA Mars Scout 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, after which 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 suggested that the weight of ice accumulated during the subsequent northern Mars winter had broken off the lander's solar panels.


Unsuccessful Landers

The following missions either crashed during descent, or were unable to communicate following landing.

M2 = Mars 2 Lander: Soviet Union probe that crashed Nov. 27, 1971 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.

M3 = Mars 3 Lander: Soviet Union 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 Mars 3 Lander began transmitting a test image on landing, but fell silent about 20 sec later 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. Its companion orbiter operated for several months.

M6 = Mars 6: Soviet Union probe that crashed Mar. 12, 1974 at about 19.42°W -23.90°N near Samara Valles. A few minutes of descent data (unreadable due to a computer chip flaw) 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.

MPL = Mars Polar Lander: NASA probe that crashed Dec. 3, 1999 at about 195.3°W -76.1°N in the Planum Australae. Failure is believed due to premature descent engine shutdown. MPL also carried two small "Deep Space 2" microprobes to be dropped during descent and which presumably impacted about 60 km away at about 196.5°W -75.0°N.

BEA = Beagle 2: ESA/British Mars Express probe deployed by the Mars Express Orbiter on Dec. 25, 2003 for landing at 269.5°W 11.6°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 was still in operation in 2018.

EDM = ExoMars 2016 Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module / Schiaparelli: ESA probe that crashed Oct. 19, 2016, 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) has so far been successful.


Acknowledgments

VL1, VL2 and MPF landing site coordinates are those given by 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 planned landing site coordinates are taken from a JPL/NAIF/SPAICE document by C. Acton and B. Semenov.

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