• Mars Images & Exploration



- Arrived Nov 2018 -

A static lander investigating the dynamics of Martian tectonic activity and meteorite impacts.

MSL Curiosity

- Arrived Aug 2012 -

A mobile science laboratory studying the ancient habitability and potential for life on Mars at Gale Crater.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)

- Arrived Sep 2006 -

An orbiter mapping the Martian surface with a high-resolution telescopic camera called HiRISE.

Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) Mangalyaan

- Arrived Dec 2014 -

A "Technology demonstration" mission observing physical features and carrying out a limited study of the atmosphere.

Mars Express

& Beagle 2 (lost)

- Arrived Dec 2003 -

An orbiter investigating geology, atmosphere, surface environment, history of water and potential for life.

Mars Odyssey

- Arrived Oct 2001 -

An orbiter analysing Mars for hazards to future explorers. Also, maps chemical & mineral makeup of Mars for evidence of water and volcanic activity.

ExoMars 2016: Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) & Schiaparelli Lander (lost)

- Arrived Oct 2016 -

An orbiter searching for signature gases in the Martian atmosphere.

 Mars Missions Currently in Operation

MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution)

- Arrived Sep 2014 -

An orbiter investigating the history of Mars' atmosphere and climate, liquid water and planetary habitability.

Future Mars Missions Planned

ExoMars 2020: Rosalind Franklin Lander

- Due to launch July 2020 and arrive at Mars July 2021 -

The rover will drill down two metres into the surface to analyse the soil and search for evidence of past and present life buried underground.

Mars 2020 Rover 

- Due to launch Jul-Aug 2020 and arrive at Mars Feb 2021 -

Will seek signs of ancient life at Jezero Crater,  by studying Martian terrain that once held flowing rivers and lakes. The rover will also carry the Mars Helicopter.

Mars Missions that have Ceased Operation or Failed

Mars Cube One (MarCO)

- Mars flyby Nov 2018 -

The twin MarCO spacecraft that accompanied the Insight spacecraft, demonstrated the ability of CubeSats to operate far beyond Earth.


- Landed May 2008 -

The lander touched down farther north on Mars than any previous spacecraft. It verified the presence of water-ice in the Martian subsurface and sent back over 25,000 pictures.



- Landed Jan 25 2004 -

The Opportunity Rover landed at Meridiani Planum and found evidence that Mars may once have been able to sustain microbial life.

Mars Polar  Lander/Deep Space 2


- Arrived Dec 1999 -

Mars Polar Lander was designed to land near Mars' south polar cap to dig for water-ice with a robotic arm.

Mars Climate Orbiter


- Arrived Sep 1999 -

The Mars Climate Orbiter mission was to study the Martian atmosphere, climate and surface.

Mars Global Surveyor

- Arrived Sep 1997 -

The orbiter significantly changed our understanding of Mars, including finding evidence water still flows in short bursts down hillside gullies. It sent more than 240,000 high resolution images to Earth.

Mars Observer


- Arrived Aug 1993 -

The orbiter was designed to conduct a high-resolution photography mission of the Red Planet.

Phobos 2 (Soviet)

- Arrived Jan 1989 -

The orbiter returned 37 images of Mars and Phobos with a resolution of up to 40 meters before it failed.

Viking 1 & 2 Orbiters & Landers

- Arrived Mars June-July 1976 -

The lander's mission was to analyse soil samples for signs of life, the results of which were deemed inconclusive. The orbiters also mapped the planet returning 50,000 images.

Mariner 9

- Arrived Nov 1971 -

The first spacecraft to orbit another planet, mapped 85% of the Martian surface and sent back more than 7,000 pictures, including images of Olympus Mons, Valles Marineris, and Phobos and Deimos.

Mars 2 & 3 Orbiters & Landers (Soviet)

- Arrived Dec 1971 -

The Soviet Mars 3 lander was the first spacecraft to soft land on Mars, but lasted less than a minute. Mars 2 crashed, although the orbiters lasted 8 months.

Mariner 6 & 7

- Mars flyby July 1969 -

Both spacecraft had similar missions that flew over the equator and south polar regions, analysing the atmosphere and the surface with remote sensors, and recording and relaying hundreds of pictures.


- Landed Jan 4 2004 -

The Spirit Rover landed at Gusev Crater and uncovered strong evidence that Mars was once much wetter than it is now.

Mars Pathfinder

- Landed Jul 4 1997 -

The mission was mainly designed to demonstrate a low-cost way of delivering a set of science instruments and a free-ranging rover to the surface of Mars. It also collected data on geology and meteorology.

Mars 4 & 5 (Soviet)

- Arrived Feb 1974 -

Mars-4 failed to enter orbit, but took 12 images as it passed by the planet. Mars-5 lasted about 2 weeks, returning 60 images south of Valles Marineris.

Mariner 4

- Mars flyby July 1965 -

The first spacecraft to fly by Mars on July 14, 1965. It sent back 21 photos of the Red Planet back to Earth.