The surface of Mars from a Viking lander, 1976.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
This picture from one of the Viking landers shows a rock-strewn vista, with rocks of all sizes, and the familiar red colouration of the Martian surface. Two Viking spacecraft landed on the surface of Mars in 1976. Viking 1, launched on 20th August 1975, touched down in the Chryse Planitia region on 20th July 1976, and Viking 2, launched on 9th September 1975, landed in the Utopia Planetia region on 3rd September 1976. They returned many pictures of the Martian surface as well as carrying out experiments to search for life. No life forms were found.