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30th Anniversary of Viking Landing on Mars

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the little-green-men dept.

201

ewhac writes "30 years ago today, mankind paid our first visit to Mars. Viking 1 made its powered landing on the red planet on 20 July 1976 at 05:12 after an 11-month flight. Images and data from the probe were soon seen all over Earth as we got our first close-up look at our planetary neighbor. Viking 2 landed a few weeks later. Like the Pathfinder rovers that followed in 1997, Viking was expected to last but a short time -- only three months -- but instead continued to gather and return data for six years."

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201 comments

Humans? (5, Interesting)

WinEveryGame (978424) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754073)

So, when will humans get there?

Re:Humans? (5, Funny)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754154)

Why? Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids.

Re:Humans? (5, Funny)

lottameez (816335) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754223)

In fact, it's cold as hell.

Re:Humans? (1)

10Neon (932006) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754254)

Hell hasn't frozen over yet, so it can't be that bad.

Re:Humans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754391)

Moderated -1 Too young to get Elton John reference.

Re:Humans? (5, Funny)

nickheart (557603) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754275)

And there's no one there to raise them, if you did.

Re:Humans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754550)

and all the science, I dont understand

Re:Humans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754611)

It's just my job, five days a week.

Re:Humans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754231)

it may be safer than some of the cities in this good ol' USA.

Re:Humans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754282)

Because it's there.

Re:Humans? (4, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754343)

Yeah but the first person there gets a free coffee table (viking lander) worth one billion dollars and a free footstool (mars rover) worth 300 million.

Re:Humans? (1)

ArghBlarg (79067) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754491)

That would be truly awesome -- a picture of a guy in a spacesuit kicking back with a beer, sittin' on the Viking table and using the Pathfinder as an ottoman, big-screen TV in front with a live feed of the 2012 World Cup... suitably delayed of course (what is it, two light-minutes to Mars?) :-)

Re:Humans? (1)

nephridium (928664) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754595)

You don't go to Mars to have children, you go there to have fun! Imagine a world with half the gravity you're used to - finally a place to get that standing triple backflip nailed. Or for the extreme survivors out there: you think the arctic is tough? You ain't seen nothin yet!

Actually Mars is the real New World. No need to kill innocent natives or other dirty business - just put hard work into it and create a new society and ecosystem from scratch - the ultimate challenge, humanities new frontier!

Re:Humans? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754266)

we didnt land there, it was all a government conspiracy. Didnt you see the Michael Moore movie ?

Built to last (4, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754083)

Viking was expected to last but a short time -- only three months -- but instead continued to gather and return data for six years

They just don't build them like they used to.
I can't even get a computer to last 3 months, let alone 6 years.

Re:Built to last (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754135)

I can't even get a computer to last 3 months, let alone 6 years.

Maybe Viking lasted so long because you weren't operating it...

Re:Built to last (2, Funny)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754215)

And think, the contract for the Viking went to the lowest bidder. One can only wonder what components the GP is selecting. Bill & Ted's bogus motherboard?

Re:Built to last (2, Informative)

Cherita Chen (936355) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754247)

Man oh man... Are you aware that there are currently two rovers on the surface of Mars that were slated to operate for 90 sols (Mars days which are roughly equal to an earth day)? Are you aware that both of those rovers have now been operational for over two years? Your comment is funny, but you sure chose a strange context in which to make your joke.

And I've got to ask, what do you do to your computers that kills them in three months? Take em swimming?

Re:Built to last (3, Funny)

bsartist (550317) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754258)

And I've got to ask, what do you do to your computers that kills them in three months?
He installs Windows, obviously. :-)

Re:Built to last (2, Funny)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754531)

As I've said multiple times before,
it's still a tossup as to the rovers staying
alive past the Vista release date.

I'm siding with the rovers, even if Vista
doesn't become stable until 2010.

vikings landed on mars? (5, Funny)

RelliK (4466) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754095)

Those vikings! First they colonized North America. Now we find out they went to Mars too! They were one tough bunch! Masters of intergallactic navigation.

Re:vikings landed on mars? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754126)

I, for one, welcome our new Martian viking overlords.

Re:vikings landed on mars? (1)

Maelwryth (982896) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754441)

They colonised north America? I thought they just made a settlement,and left a couple of plants behind, and then all went home and wrote it down. .

Actually, no. (2, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754444)

First they colonised Europe. Then they colonised Russia. They left America to last. (The Irish beat them by 500 years, though - Brenden the Navigator was the first European in America. Well, aside from the guy who left that fossilized skull...)


Getting to Mars, though - that was easy. You load up some berserkers with drugs until they're sky high, then explode some distilled mead to launch them across the void.

Also the anniversery of the 1st lunar landing (4, Interesting)

laing (303349) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754103)

July 20th, 1969 was the first manned lunar landing. To me, this is a more significant anniversary than Viking.

Re:Also the anniversery of the 1st lunar landing (2, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754172)

Since when is the 37th anniversary significant? Definitely deserves a mention but 30 years is more of a milestone.

Re:Also the anniversery of the 1st lunar landing (2, Funny)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754629)

What if you are not a member of the homo sapiens club and are instead a 37 fingered Zorg? This is a very fucking significant anniversary in that case! If you're going to move out into the solar system, could you at least open your mind to the other species who hopefully will purchase your smallpox infested blankets?

Re:Also the anniversery of the 1st lunar landing (2)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754191)

30 is divisible by 5, which is the official factor for celebrating anniversaries; 37 is prime. Don't worry, 3 years from today you'll get plenty of hoopla.

Re:Also the anniversery of the 1st lunar landing (5, Funny)

Apraxhren (964852) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754197)

Pssh that wasn't even real!

Re:Also the anniversery of the 1st lunar landing (2, Funny)

UglyTool (768385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754616)

See, this is what I really love about /.

Insightful? WTF mods?

Funny? Maybe.

Delightfully sarcastic? Sure.

Inisghtful?

It's even funnier, because I'll be modded down as Troll or Flamebait...

Re:Also the anniversery of the 1st lunar landing (1)

Apraxhren (964852) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754684)

Wow, Insightful haha. Maybe that is part of the joke considering the post itself was plain stupid but I just couldn't help myself.

Re:Also the anniversery of the 1st lunar landing (2, Insightful)

GeorgeFitch3 (988277) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754518)

At least we're still sending robotic probes and such to Mars. When is the last time we sent a human to the moon? Where's our permanent moon base, and the flying cars we're supposed to have by now? :)

Re:Also the anniversery of the 1st lunar landing (0, Flamebait)

agw (6387) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754735)

July 20th, 1969 was the first manned lunar landing. To me, this is a more significant anniversary than Viking.

You mean, the first faked lunar landing was more important to you than the first faked mars landing?

Enough with the americocentrism (5, Interesting)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754114)

OK the article starts with "The solar system had welcomed its first interplanetary visitor from Earth, a triumphant moment that marked the start of mankind's efforts to probe its neighbor planet for signs of life and set the sights for every Martian mission to follow." So why is this, when russians sent many probes to mars beforehand? Admittedly none of them the success of Viking but russians still reached the surface first. This stinks.

My cousin was even taught at school that Sally Ride was the first woman into space when this is patently untrue. Why the revisionism? is it just for the sake of a good first few paragraphs or is it something worse?

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754166)

What utter rot. None of the russian probes planned for mars ever launched, let alone reached the planet. They gave up and switched their attention to Venus instead which they reached AFTER viking reached mars. Also straight from NASA itself

Sally Kristen Ride (born May 26, 1951) is a former astronaut and became the first woman to reach outer space, in 1983.

So if you think some other woman got into space first, put up or shutup, She was and she was american.

Mod parent down (5, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754178)

So if you think some other woman got into space first, put up or shutup, She was and she was american.

The Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova [astronautix.com] was first, in 1963. Even if one doesn't remember her exact name, any of us nerds should know something of the history of the space program, like the fact that the Russians put a woman up there first.

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754212)

From wikipedia's page on Sally Ride: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sally_Ride [wikipedia.org]

Sally Kristen Ride (born May 26, 1951) is a former astronaut and became the first American woman to reach outer space, in 1983. She was preceded by two Soviet women, Valentina Tereshkova (1963) and Svetlana Savitskaya (1982).

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (5, Informative)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754221)

Sally Ride indeed "was American" but she wasn't the first woman in space. That would be Valentina Tereshkova, who orbited the earth 20 years earlier. Sally Ride wasn't the second woman either. That was Svetlana Savitskaya, a year prior. Ride was in fact the third woman in space, albeit the first American woman.

It is, however, true that no Soviet probes successfully landed on Mars. It's not true that they never launched. They launched 9 of them. Two failed to reach Earth orbit, two failed while in Earth orbit, one was lost en route, one missed. One made it into Martian orbit and sent back a number of images before failing. One lander crashed on the surface, the next and last separated early and didn't encounter the surface at all. The Viking missions were the first probes to successfully land on the planet and return data.

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (2, Interesting)

DestroyAllZombies (896198) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754234)

Not precisely true. Most of the USSR probes didn't make it into space, but one lived on the surface for less than a minute. Now this would be a career-ending "success" for me personally but it counts for something. It's a better experience than I had with Mars Observer ... ...

Now the stuff about Sally Ride, well, forget it. Facts are facts. Although on second thought that statement has a lot of truthiness about it.

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (3, Informative)

Dilpo (980613) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754242)

I would like to see your source for Sally Kristen Ride (born May 26, 1951) is a former astronaut and became the first woman to reach outer space, in 1983.
Everywhere I look (even on nasa's website) the first woman in space was Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova. You can google it yourself or if you are lazy simply look here http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/whos _who_level2/tereshkova.html [nasa.gov]
The only posible conclusion I can come to as to where you got your quote is the wikipedia article for Sally Ride but even they got it right
Sally Kristen Ride (born May 26, 1951) is a former astronaut and became the first American woman to reach outer space, in 1983.
Nice how that one little word got left out of your quote.

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (2, Informative)

Karma Farmer (595141) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754252)

None of the russian probes planned for mars ever launched, let alone reached the planet.
The Soviet Mars 2 lander was the first manmade object on Mars, and the Mars 3 lander achieved the first soft landing. Both reached Mars five years before the American Viking.

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (3, Informative)

solitas (916005) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754382)

So if you think some other woman got into space first, put up or shutup, She was and she was american.

Here: http://www.astronautix.com/articles/womspace.htm [astronautix.com]
Go thou and read, Read, READ.

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (1)

shess (31691) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754705)

I count 40 women who have spent time in space. You know what? That is pretty damned incredible, when you think about it. I mean, I still haven't gotten to go into space, yet, and that's pretty frustrating, but, still, this is an amazing thing. While I don't totally agree with throwing good money after bad on the shuttle program, I'll be really sad if, in 30 years, we'll look back on the shuttle program like we currently look back on Apollo.

-scott

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754434)

If you'd stop masturbating to W's drivel with a gun up your ass while driving your SUV to the Krispy Kreme, you'd maybe learn a few things, such as the fact that besides the Moon landing Russians beat you to every significant milestone to space. Sputnik ring a bell, you ignorant patriotic buffoon?

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754574)

Great. Another Euro child molester.

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754168)

It's the fact that we're recovering from a propaganda war. The US doesn't want its textbooks to read "The commies pwned us in all but one thing".

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (1, Interesting)

DestroyAllZombies (896198) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754251)

I think the textbooks would read, "The commies almost pwned us in one thing, but we proved that by throwing money at a problem and not executing scientists and engineers, we could still pwn them." And no, I'm not a right-winger.

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754619)

Yes because providing jobs and living quarters for any/all citizens is an archaic and horrible practice. Better to have the majority of citizens paying for their housing, and a job market dependent on an erratic economy that could -- at a moment's notice -- send millions into the streets as beggars. Free university education to any Soviets who desired it...what a barbaric practice.

If capitalist societies are to prosper, we must ask ourselves: WWLD (what would lenin do)? "The commies" pwned capitalism in many ways, and if the USSR had had better leadership post-lenin I very much doubt the United States would've been the victor in the cold war. Hell, it might never have started in the first place.

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754722)

"Would have been", "might have". But guess what, it didn't. Capitalism won, suck it up.

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (4, Informative)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754249)

So why is this, when russians sent many probes to mars beforehand?

However, all of them crashed except for Mars 3, which sent data from the surface for a total of 20 seconds before permanently dying. You may be technically correct, but they didn't achieve anything meaningful on the surface before the Viking probes. (As far as flyby missions, both countries had sent prior probes.) Therefore, the article summary really isn't the affront to history that you make it out to be.

Russian probe hard to verify (0, Troll)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754697)

There is no way to verify if Russian probe ever landed. The landing story may have been propoganda or exaggerated. The Soviets had a repution for that. At least Viking sent photos, soil readings, etc. as evidence. If you fake photos and soil chemistry then you could be in deep doodoo when another nation lands and finds something completely different.

Plus, the Soviets tended to use a shotgun approach where they kept sending in volume until something worked. This is kind of cheating in a way. Actually, the Soviets got a little too bold and over-engineered in some cases. One (failed) Mars lander had a micro-rover on a teather. If they kept it simple and simply returned images, they could have sent even more (smaller) probes and had a higher chance of success with evidence to show for it.

Why build a micro-rover when you even have multiple problems just plain landing? For example just put simple probes on big parachutes and let them thunk down with a wire-mess bumper instead of having intricate, timed retro-rockets. (This is sort of what the european Hyugens did, although Titan's atmosphere is thick so only needed a small chute.)
     

(correction) Re:Russian probe hard to verify (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754706)

Correction: "wire-mess" should be "wire-mesh". (Although it may be a mess after landing.)
   

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (1)

parramatta_kiss (989990) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754291)

HERE HERE!

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754377)

Jesus Christ, what is it with the fucking noobs lately? It's "hear hear", you moron, and you shouldn't have said anything if that was all you had to say.

Re:Enough with the americocentrism (4, Insightful)

windowpain (211052) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754383)

I really don't think it's revisionism. I think it's ignorance. For the last couple of decades teaching has attracted more and more undergrads well below the 50th percentile in their graduating classes. I've known and spoken with a number of teachers. Their ignorance is blood-curdling.

They faked that one (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754131)

too ... it is so obvious that they are just crawling around the red sands of some Aussie desert.
When will people stop believing the lies from NASA?

Oops (4, Informative)

Graymalkin (13732) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754132)

The posted /. story is confusing the Mars Pathfinder [nasa.gov] mission and the Mars Exploration Rover [nasa.gov] mission. The Pathfinder mission was in 1997. The MERs landed in January of 2004 and is still running, far beyond the expected lifetime of the rovers.

Re:Oops (1)

Karma Farmer (595141) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754205)

In general, I think the "slashdot was wrong" posts are pointless. Never trust anything you read on slashdot. Half the posters are confused, half the posters are wrong, and half the posters are lying.

However, in this case Slashdot is partially correct. Mars Pathfinder carried the Sojourner Rover, which according to the robot hall of fame [robothalloffame.org] :
The flight team lost communication with the Sojouner September 27, after 83 days of daily commanding and data return. In all, the small 10.5 kilogram (23 lb) Sojouner operated 12 times its expected lifetime of seven days.
Of course, that wasn't multiple rovers, and a short 83 days hardly compares to the longevity of the more recent rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.

Dont forget (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754134)


http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html [nasa.gov]

Still running and still producing valuable data
reliability is what companies should really strive for, consumer throw-away disposable culture is a nasty disease and the sooner its extinct the better

Re:Dont forget (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754675)

While I agree with the point I think you're trying to make, I think pointing towards a space vehicle that was launched on top of a multi-billion-dollar (in todays dollars), single use, throwaway rocket booster as a counterpoint to "throw away culture" is probably a mistake.

After all, the Titan III which launched the Viking had a fueled pad weight of around (based on Wikipedia's mass figures) 384,241 kg; the scientific payload of the lander, which when you get right down to it is the sole purpose for the rest of the stuff existing, was 91 kg. That's 384,150 kg of disposable stuff in order to put a mass about equivalent to the average American couch potato on the surface of another planet. If that's not the ultimate throw-away, I don't know what is.

It's probably a good idea that the people designing garbage cans and dishwashers aren't giving the same checkwriting priviledges as the people designing space probes, or we'd all be in trouble.

Transport vehicle (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754140)

You know what's even more amazing is how the Vikings managed to cross the vast distance on a wind-powered raft.

"...bloody Vikings..." -Monty Python

Re:Transport vehicle (2, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754239)

You know what's even more amazing is how the Vikings managed to cross the vast distance on a wind-powered raft.

I know that this is a joke, but the fact is that the sailing achievements of the historical Vikings across the Atlantic were not especially unusual. They simply knew how to make short hops from island to island. If the colonization of Easter Island had happened from the South American mainland, as Thor Heyerdahl set out to demonstrate in that old classic Kon-Tiki [amazon.com] , then that would have been something awesome: 4300 miles straight.

Even beyond the matter of Easter Island, the Polynesian sailors of the South Pacific, though they used many of the same techniques, could kick the Vikings' asses in endurance and navigator skills.

Polynesians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754300)

Yeah, but could they kick the Vikings' asses in the north Atlantic? It's cold up there, unlike the balmy south Pacific. Can they rape and pillage as well? I think not. I certainly would rather see some Polynesians come ashore than some Vikings.

Re:Polynesians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754371)


Can they rape and pillage as well? I think not.

Sure they could - it wasn't all ukuleles and flower leis back then.

I certainly would rather see some Polynesians come ashore than some Vikings.

Well vikings probably wouldn't have eaten you after clubbing your brains out.

And lets face it, modern Scandinavians just aren't scary any more.

Re: Modern Scandanavians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754584)

"And lets face it, modern Scandinavians just aren't scary any more."

They aren't?!? [lordi.org]

Re:Transport vehicle (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754400)

Riight, because there are just so many islands between Greenland and what was to become New England. Polynesian sailors, while quite impressive in their own right, have yet to pillage, burn and/or explore half the stuff the Vikings did. Way to endure those harsh tropical waters and find an island to deforest though.

I know that this is a joke, but the fact is that the sailing achievements of the historical Vikings across the Atlantic were not especially unusual. They simply knew how to make short hops from island to island.

Re:Transport vehicle (0)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754418)

Riight, because there are just so many islands between Greenland and what was to become New England

The Vikings would have gotten to New England by travelling down along the coast of Nova Scotia. After all, the oldest European settlement in North America is L'Anse aux Meadows. The distance between Greenland and the Atlantic coast isn't that far. It's certainly not Polynesia far.

Re:Transport vehicle (2, Funny)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754401)

The Viking landers didn't use wind power to get to Mars, they used SPAM (tm)!

SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM! Wonderful SPAM!

Note: SPAM (all caps) is a trademark of Hormel.

Imagine how NASA will do when they go metric! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754171)

Viking was engineered using a prehistoric measurement system. What wonders will NASA produce when they migrate to a sane system?

Wait. Don't answer that...

Re:Imagine how NASA will do when they go metric! (3, Funny)

n0dna (939092) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754307)

They produce sounds like "WHANG!" and "BOOM!" and "CRASH!"

I would like to see them switch to Discovery Channel measurements myself... distance in football fields, weight in tractor-trailer trucks, and volume in ping-pong balls.

Re:Imagine how NASA will do when they go metric! (1)

Silver Gryphon (928672) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754475)

And data rates in Star Trek Collections per second. Oh, sorry, that's a Slashdot measurement.

So then ... (1)

iknowcss (937215) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754214)

Viking 2 landed a few weeks later


So does this mean that in a week we'll be hearing about the 30th anniversery of Viking 2?

Re:So then ... (1)

isny (681711) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754397)

| So does this mean that in a week we'll be hearing about the 30th anniversery of Viking 2? That's right. So remember in advance, it's not a dupe.

OK, I feel old now. (3, Interesting)

bsartist (550317) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754283)

I remember seeing these amazing photos from Viking, Apollo, and Skylab missions when I was little. Been a fan of the space program ever since, and it's kind of sad to see the bureaucratic monster that NASA has become these days. Yeah, they do lots of neat stuff still - but I think they could do so much more if it weren't for the organizational mess down there. Hopefully private competition from Rutan et al will shake things up a bit.

Re:OK, I feel old now. (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754720)

I guess it's easy to pick on a government funded research facility and call it overly bureaucratic, but doing the kinds of things they do involves thousands of engineers, quite often solving problems for the very first time. After they do this they hand off the results of their research to the private sector. Maybe even companies like Scaled Composites, the Spaceship One people.

BULLSHIT IT WAS FAKED!!!11!1!one11!1 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754299)

George Bush went back in time and faked the landing so he could have the 30th anniversary on his presidency to cover up the murders he is commiting in IRAQ!!

You stupid fucks have all been fooled!!!!

-- Vote Democrat: It's easier than thinking for yourself!!!!

NSIWT (3, Funny)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754432)

I remember working in SFOF in Pasadena during the landing. Pretty magic. Walter Cronkite was there, lots of SF luminaries.

One of my favorite memories was a Xerox'ed cartoon of a lovely sylvan setting, Viking 1 parked by a meandering stream, three-eared rabbits running by, trees.... and a two-headed eagle flying away with the high-gain antenna.

Now i know that Vikings discovered... (1)

scolen2 (956819) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754485)

Now i know that the Vikings landed on the America's before Colubus did, but I'm not quite sure about landing on Mars.

Unforgettable (2, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754514)

I was actually home from school that day, and young enough to be glued to the screen as the images came in slllllowly as thin strips. Young enoug so that I seriously wondered if there would be ruins of ancient Martian cities visible on screen. Alas, no, but it's still a fond memory. Of course this makes me feel old, but hey, at least I was a kid. Wow, if you were an adult when this happened, you must be really old. Yeah. I'll keep telling myself that.

Re:Unforgettable (2, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754599)

I remember when the morning paper came with the first images from the surface. I expected it to look moon-like because of the dark skies used in all the pre-landing press-release illustrations. Instead it showed a brightish sky. With the rocks and sand-like dunes and the pole to hold up the science intruments looking like an umbrella stem, it looked like a rocky beach. "Son of beach!" somebody shouted. Somebody else joked that it took a vacation to a remote beach, skipping Mars. "Lucky damned probe", they said.

It took the technicians a few weeks to get the color right, so we kept seeing blue skies, bright pink skies, green skies, etc. It was as if a toddler was playing with "tint" knob on a tube-TV. Some still argue that they never got it right because a tinted sky with sun-blocking dust allegedly makes the color calibration targets useless.
         

First man on the moon (1)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754541)

It's also the anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing. I guess we'll see a /. post on this sometime next week.

line by line (3, Interesting)

colfer (619105) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754547)

The pictures came in, over live network TV, one vertical line at a time. From left to right it took several minutes, as I recall it, maybe longer. No image from the planet's surface had ever been seen before. And you just knew it was going to be more interesting than the surface of the Moon. But despite the live coverage, I don't recall much public interest. Apollo and Skylab had petered out. Watergate maybe. Little unmanned dingbats going to the outer planets, and later Hubble, seemed to get more antention. But I always prefered the "you were there" quality of Viking's pictures from Mars. It was obvious a person could walk around in that landscape, with enough warm clothing.

Re:line by line (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754621)

It was obvious a person could walk around in that landscape, with enough warm clothing.

Technically, they probably could not. The air pressure is less than 1 percent that of Earth. Even with oxegen masks, the pressure is far too light. People would burst, making blood spray all over turning the planet red......red? Hmmmmm....
         

I've always had a soft spot for the Viking Lander (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15754566)

My uncle, who really got me started in engineering at age 10, built part of the guidance system. He was a good guy and I miss him.

Gotta love Google Ads (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754638)

You know the ads are bogus script tricks when a Google search turns up an ad that says, "Compare prices on Viking Mars Landers and save!". For NASA, it is a little too late to think about that.

First picture! (3, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754651)

http://home.pacbell.net/vyzamora/Mars%20Picture.jp g [pacbell.net]

Okay, seriously, this is the first image:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mars_first_land er_image.gif [wikipedia.org]

Caption: "This is the first image ever transmitted from the surface of Mars. It was taken only a few minutes after landing. Engineers decided to program the probe to quickly take and send an image of a footpad because it was feared that earlier Soviet probes may have sank into quicksand because they stopped transmitting shortly after touchdown. If Viking met the same fate, they wanted to know about it this time. Some speculate that the cloudiness on the left side is due to dust left over from the landing. The cameras scanned one vertical strip at a time such that by the time the scanning moved to the center of the image, the dust had allegedly settled."

We need more nuke-powered explorers... (2, Interesting)

BTWR (540147) | more than 7 years ago | (#15754686)

Too bad the "Nuclear=Bad" hippies pressured NASA to not let us use nuclear power on any spacecraft capable of receiving solar power. Imagine if Pathfinder lasted a decade. The Rovers now are greatly surpassing their expectations, but too bad there's no backup nuke-powered battery to allow them to drive until 2016...
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