Forty Years of Exploration of the Surface of Mars

Harold Geller

On the 20th day of August, 1975, the Viking 1 spacecraft was launched into space towards Mars. On the 19th day of June, 1976, the Viking 1 spacecraft reached the planet Mars. The Viking 1 Lander was to set down on the surface of Mars for the bicentennial celebration in the USA. Unfortunately, due to the ruggedness of the original chosen landing site, the Viking 1 Lander did not land on the surface of Mars until July 20th, which marked the 7th anniversary since the landing on the Moon. The robotic arm of the Viking 1 Lander malfunctioned, and, in spite of an onboard computer with only 64K of RAM, the computer was re-programmed to extend the robotic arm so that on the 28th of July, 1976, we reached out and touched the surface of Mars. We discuss the exploration of the surface of Mars from the Viking mission in 1976 to the current Curiosity rover on Mars; and, the part it all played in my own life on Earth.

A/V requirements: Laptop, LCD Projector, Screen