Some cool Mars Trivia
- Scientific missions to Mars began in the 1960s. The first man-made object to make a successful fly-by of Mars was NASA’s Mariner 4, which was launched in 1964. It was expected to last 10 months. It lasted for 3 years
- Roughly 60% of all spacecraft destined for Mars failed before completing their missions; some before their observations could begin. India was the first country to successfully launch a Mars probe on its first attempt. It was launched in November 2013 and has been orbiting Mars since September 2014.
- On April 22, l NASA’s Curiosity Rover @MarsCuriosity tweeted this to its 4.1 million followers? “The Pale Blue Dot & Moon were shining like evening stars as I gazed up into the Martian sky & captured this image on Jan. 31, 2014. Even though I’m on Mars, we’re all #ConnectedByEarth. Happy #EarthDay!”
- China’s Tianwen-1, an orbiter, lander and rover combined, weighs 5 tonnes and carries 13 scientific instruments, including a deployable camera. It’s been orbiting Mars since February. But in May or June, it plans to land on Mars making China only the second country to achieve the feat.
- To name its first robotically operated Mars rover in 1996, NASA got American schoolchildren to send in suggestions. One child suggested a synonym for traveller, also the name of an African-American champion of abolition and women’s rights during the American Civil War era. The rover was called Sojourner (for Sojourner Truth).
- When launched in 2003, the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity had a 90-day mission. Both put in overtime. Spirit worked for six years on Mars before being trapped in the sand and losing communication with Earth, in 2011. Opportunity worked for 14 years, longer on Mars than any other robot. A planet-wide dust storm; in 2018 killed it .
- The Hope probe, which entered orbit in February, marked this country’s first successful Mars mission. On Earth, celebrations included illuminating iconic landmarks in red, issuing limited-edition passport stamps and an LED show projected on to the world’s tallest building. It was by UAE
- The Perseverance rover currently investigating Mars has two detectives scanning rocks. One is Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals. The other is a Wide-Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and ’Engineering. Together they are called “Sherlock and Watson”
- Last month, the Ingenuity helicopter made history in 39 seconds as the first powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet. On board was a piece of history too — a fragment from another craft that flew for 12 seconds and changed the world. It was a part of The Wright brothers’ flyer