Close-up view of the Martian landscape from the Viking 2 Lander, 1976.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
The image shows a red rock-strewn terrain and part of the lander itself. The trench dug by the soil retrieval scoop can be seen in the centre of the picture. Two Viking spacecraft were launched towards Mars in 1975, each carrying a lander spacecraft and an orbiter. Both succesfully landed their probes on Mars to study the Martian environment, soil constituents and to search for simple life forms - none were found. Viking 2 was launched on 9th September 1975 and landed in the Utopia Planitia region of Mars on 3rd September 1976.