List of missions to Mars

Launches to Mars

This is a list of the 49 spacecraft missions (including unsuccessful ones) relating to the planet Mars, such as orbiters and rovers.


Mission Type Legend
  Mission to Mars
  Gravity assist, destination elsewhere
Mission Spacecraft Launch Date Operator Mission Type[1] Outcome[2] Remarks Carrier rocket[3]
1M No.1 1M No.1 10 October 1960 OKB-1
  Soviet Union
Flyby Launch failure Failed to achieve Earth orbit Molniya
1M No.2 1M No.2 14 October 1960 OKB-1
  Soviet Union
Flyby Launch failure Failed to achieve Earth orbit Molniya
2MV-4 No.1 2MV-4 No.1 24 October 1962   Soviet Union Flyby Launch failure Booster stage ("Block L") disintegrated in LEO Molniya
Mars 1 Mars 1
(2MV-4 No.2)
1 November 1962   Soviet Union Flyby Spacecraft failure Communications lost before flyby Molniya
2MV-3 No.1 2MV-3 No.1 4 November 1962   Soviet Union Lander Launch failure Never left LEO Molniya
Mariner 3 Mariner 3 5 November 1964 NASA
  United States
Flyby Launch failure Payload fairing failed to separate Atlas LV-3 Agena-D
Mariner 4 Mariner 4 28 November 1964 NASA
  United States
Flyby Successful First flyby of Mars on 15 July 1965 Atlas LV-3 Agena-D
Zond 2 Zond 2
(3MV-4A No.2)
30 November 1964   Soviet Union Flyby Spacecraft failure Communications lost before flyby Molniya
Mariner 6 Mariner 6 25 February 1969 NASA
  United States
Flyby Successful Atlas SLV-3C Centaur-D
2M No.521 2M No.521


27 March 1969   Soviet Union Orbiter Launch failure Failed to achieve Earth orbit Proton-K/D
Mariner 7 Mariner 7 27 March 1969 NASA
  United States
Flyby Successful Atlas SLV-3C Centaur-D
2M No.522 2M No.522


2 April 1969   Soviet Union Orbiter Launch failure Failed to achieve Earth orbit Proton-K/D
Mariner 8 Mariner 8 9 May 1971 NASA
  United States
Orbiter Launch failure Failed to achieve Earth orbit Atlas SLV-3C Centaur-D
Kosmos 419 Kosmos 419
(3MS No.170)
10 May 1971   Soviet Union Orbiter Launch failure Never left LEO; booster stage burn timer set incorrectly Proton-K/D
Mars 2 Mars 2
(4M No.171)
19 May 1971   Soviet Union Orbiter Successful Second spacecraft to orbit another planet. Entered orbit on 27 November 1971, operated for 362 orbits[5] Proton-K/D
Mars 2 lander
(SA 4M No.171)
Lander Spacecraft failure First lander to impact Mars. Deployed from Mars 2, failed to land during attempt on 27 November 1971.[6]
Prop-M Rover Failure
Lost with Mars 2
First rover to impact Mars. Lost when the Mars 2 lander crashed into the surface of Mars.
Mars 3 Mars 3
(4M No.172)
28 May 1971   Soviet Union Orbiter Successful Third spacecraft to orbit another planet. Entered orbit on 2 December 1971, operated for 20 orbits[7][8] Proton-K/D
Mars 3 lander
(SA 4M No.172)
Lander Partial success[9][10] First lander to make a soft landing on Mars. Landed on 2 December 1971. First partial image (70 lines) transmitted showing "gray background with no details".[7] Contact lost 20 seconds after transmission started, 110 seconds after landing.[11][12]
Prop-M Rover Carrier vehicle failed before rover was deployed First rover to make a soft landing on another planet. 4.5 kg (9.9 lb) rover connected to the Mars 3 lander by a tether. Deployment status unknown due to loss of communications with the Mars 3 lander.[11]
Mariner 9 Mariner 9 30 May 1971 NASA
  United States
Orbiter Successful[13] First spacecraft to orbit another planet. Entered orbit on 14 November 1971, deactivated 516 days after entering orbit. Atlas SLV-3C Centaur-D
Mars 4 Mars 4
(3MS No.52S)
21 July 1973   Soviet Union Orbiter Partial success[14] Failed to perform orbital insertion burn. Returned photographs of Mars during flyby. Proton-K/D
Mars 5 Mars 5
(3MS No.53S)
25 July 1973   Soviet Union Orbiter Successful Contact lost after 9 days in Mars orbit. returned 180 frames Proton-K/D
Mars 6 Mars 6
(3MP No.50P)
5 August 1973   Soviet Union Flyby Successful Flyby bus collected data.[15] Proton-K/D
Mars 6 lander Lander Spacecraft failure Contact lost upon landing, atmospheric data mostly unusable.
Mars 7 Mars 7
(3MP No.51P)
9 August 1973   Soviet Union Flyby Successful Flyby bus collected data. Proton-K/D
Mars 7 lander Lander Spacecraft failure Separated from coast stage prematurely, failed to enter Martian atmosphere.
Viking 1 Viking 1 orbiter 20 August 1975 NASA
  United States
Orbiter Successful Operated for 1385 orbits. Entered Mars orbit on 19 June 1976. Titan IIIE Centaur-D1T
Viking 1 lander Lander Successful First successful Mars lander. Deployed from Viking 1 orbiter. Landed on Mars in 20 July 1976. Operated for 2245 sols.
Viking 2 Viking 2 orbiter 9 September 1975 NASA
  United States
Orbiter Successful Operated for 700 orbits. Entered Mars orbit on 7 August 1976. Titan IIIE Centaur-D1T
Viking 2 lander Lander Successful Deployed from Viking 2 orbiter. Landed on Mars on September 1976. Operated for 1281 sols (11 April 1980).
Phobos 1 Phobos 1
(1F No.101)
7 July 1988   Soviet Union Orbiter Spacecraft failure Communications lost before reaching Mars; failed to enter orbit Proton-K/D-2
DAS Phobos lander Failure
Lost with Phobos 1
To have been deployed by Phobos 1
Phobos 2 Phobos 2
(1F No.102)
12 July 1988   Soviet Union Orbiter Mostly successful Orbital observations successful, communications lost before lander deployment. Proton-K/D-2
Prop-F Phobos rover Failure
Lost with Phobos 2
To have been deployed by Phobos 2
DAS Phobos lander Failure
Lost with Phobos 2
To have been deployed by Phobos 2
Mars Observer Mars Observer 25 September 1992 NASA
  United States
Orbiter Spacecraft failure Lost communications before orbital insertion Commercial Titan III
Mars Global Surveyor Mars Global Surveyor 7 November 1996 NASA
  United States
Orbiter Successful Operated for seven years Delta II 7925
Mars 96 Mars 96
(M1 No.520)(Mars-8)[4]
16 November 1996 Rosaviakosmos
Spacecraft failure Never left LEO Proton-K/D-2
Mars 96 lander Lander Failure
Lost with Mars 96
Two Mars landers to have been deployed by Mars 96.
Mars 96 lander Lander Failure
Lost with Mars 96
Mars 96 penetrator Penetrator Failure
Lost with Mars 96
Two Mars Penetrators to have been deployed by Mars 96.
Mars 96 penetrator Penetrator Failure
Lost with Mars 96
Mars Pathfinder Mars Pathfinder 4 December 1996 NASA
  United States
Lander Successful Landed at 19.13°N 33.22°W on 4 July 1997,[16] Last contact on 27 September 1997 Delta II 7925
Sojourner Rover Successful First rover to operate on another planet. Operated for 84 days[17]
Nozomi Nozomi
3 July 1998 ISAS
Orbiter Spacecraft failure Performed a Mars flyby. Later contact lost due to loss of fuel. M-V
Mars Climate Orbiter Mars Climate Orbiter 11 December 1998 NASA
  United States
Orbiter Spacecraft failure Approached Mars too closely during orbit insertion attempt due to a software interface bug involving different units for impulse and burned up in the atmosphere Delta II 7425
Mars Polar Lander/Deep Space 2 Mars Polar Lander 3 January 1999 NASA
  United States
Lander Spacecraft failure Failed to land Delta II 7425
Deep Space 2 Penetrator Spacecraft failure No data transmitted after deployment from MPL.
Deep Space 2 Penetrator Spacecraft failure
Mars Odyssey Mars Odyssey 7 April 2001 NASA
  United States
Orbiter Operational Expected to remain operational until 2025. Delta II 7925
Mars Express Mars Express 2 June 2003 ESA
Orbiter Operational Enough fuel to remain operational until 2035 Soyuz-FG/Fregat
Beagle 2 ESA

  United Kingdom

Lander Lander failure No communications received after release from Mars Express. Orbital images of landing site suggest a successful landing, but two solar panels failed to deploy, obstructing its communications.
Spirit Spirit
10 June 2003 NASA
  United States
Rover Successful Landed on 4 January 2004.
Operated for 2208 sols
Delta II 7925
Opportunity Opportunity
8 July 2003 NASA
  United States
Rover Successful Landed on 25 January 2004.
Operated for 5351 sols
Delta II 7925H
Rosetta Rosetta 2 March 2004 ESA

(Gravity assist)

Successful Flyby in February 2007 en route to 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko[18] Ariane 5G+
Philae Flyby

(Gravity assist)

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter 12 August 2005 NASA
  United States
Orbiter Operational Entered orbit on 10 March 2006 Atlas V 401
Phoenix Phoenix 4 August 2007 NASA
  United States
Lander Successful Landed on 25 May 2008.
End of mission 2 November 2008
Delta II 7925
Dawn Dawn 27 September 2007 NASA
  United States

(Gravity assist)

Successful Flyby in February 2009 en route to 4 Vesta and Ceres Delta II 7925H
Fobos-Grunt/Yinghuo-1 Fobos-Grunt 8 November 2011 Roskosmos
Phobos sample return
Spacecraft failure Never left LEO (intended to depart under own power) Zenit-2M
Yinghuo-1 CNSA
Orbiter Failure
Lost with Fobos-Grunt
To have been deployed by Fobos-Grunt
Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity
(Mars Science Laboratory)
26 November 2011 NASA
  United States
Rover Operational Landed on 6 August 2012 Atlas V 541
Mars Orbiter Mission Mars Orbiter Mission
5 November 2013 ISRO
Orbiter Operational Entered orbit on 24 September 2014. Mission extended to 2022.[19] PSLV-XL
MAVEN MAVEN 18 November 2013 NASA
  United States
Orbiter Operational Orbit insertion on 22 September 2014[20] Atlas V 401
ExoMars 2016 ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter 14 March 2016 ESA/Roscosmos
ESA/  Russia
Orbiter Operational Entered orbit on 19 October 2016 Proton-M/Briz-M
Schiaparelli EDM lander ESA
Lander Spacecraft failure Carried by the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter. Although the lander crashed,[21][22] engineering data on the first five minutes of entry was successfully retrieved.[23][24]
InSight InSight 5 May 2018[25][26] NASA
  United States
Lander Operational Landed on 26 November 2018. Atlas V 401
MarCO A Flyby Successful Flyby 26 November 2018. Last contact 29 December 2018.
MarCO B Flyby Successful Flyby 26 November 2018. Last contact 4 January 2019.
Emirates Mars Mission Hope 19 July 2020[27] MBRSC
  United Arab Emirates
Orbiter Operational Entered orbit on 9 February 2021.[28][29][30] H-IIA
Tianwen-1 Tianwen-1 orbiter 23 July 2020[31][32] CNSA
Orbiter Operational Entered orbit on 10 February 2021 Long March 5
Tianwen-1 lander Lander Success Landed on 14 May 2021
Zhurong rover Rover Operational Landed on 14 May 2021[33] Deployed by the Tianwen-1 lander on 22 May 2021.
Tianwen-1 Remote Camera Lander Success Landed on 14 May 2021 Deployed by the Zhurong rover on 1st June, 2021.[34]
Mars 2020 Perseverance 30 July 2020[35] NASA
  United States
Rover Operational Landed on 18 February 2021[36] Atlas V 541
Ingenuity Helicopter Operational First aerodynamic flight on another planet. Landed with Perseverance rover on 18 February 2021.[37] Deployed from rover on 3 April 2021. First flight achieved on April 19, 2021.[38]

Mars landing locationsEdit

Acheron FossaeAcidalia PlanitiaAlba MonsAmazonis PlanitiaAonia PlanitiaArabia TerraArcadia PlanitiaArgentea PlanumArgyre PlanitiaChryse PlanitiaClaritas FossaeCydonia MensaeDaedalia PlanumElysium MonsElysium PlanitiaGale craterHadriaca PateraHellas MontesHellas PlanitiaHesperia PlanumHolden craterIcaria PlanumIsidis PlanitiaJezero craterLomonosov craterLucus PlanumLycus SulciLyot craterLunae PlanumMalea PlanumMaraldi craterMareotis FossaeMareotis TempeMargaritifer TerraMie craterMilankovič craterNepenthes MensaeNereidum MontesNilosyrtis MensaeNoachis TerraOlympica FossaeOlympus MonsPlanum AustralePromethei TerraProtonilus MensaeSirenumSisyphi PlanumSolis PlanumSyria PlanumTantalus FossaeTempe TerraTerra CimmeriaTerra SabaeaTerra SirenumTharsis MontesTractus CatenaTyrrhen TerraUlysses PateraUranius PateraUtopia PlanitiaValles MarinerisVastitas BorealisXanthe Terra 
  Interactive image map of the global topography of Mars, overlain with locations of Mars Lander and Rover sites. Hover over the image to see the names of over 60 prominent geographic features, and click to link to them. Coloring of the base map indicates relative elevations, based on data from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor. Whites and browns indicate the highest elevations (+12 to +8 km); followed by pinks and reds (+8 to +3 km); yellow is 0 km; greens and blues are lower elevations (down to −8 km). Axes are latitude and longitude; Polar regions are noted.
(   Active ROVER  Inactive  Active LANDER  Inactive  Future )
Mars Landing Sites (16 December 2020)

There are a number of derelict orbiters around Mars whose location is not known precisely; there is a proposal to search for small moons, dust rings, and old orbiters with the Optical Navigation Camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. [39] There should be 8 derelict Mars orbiters barring unforeseen events if they have not decayed as of 2016.[40] One example is Mariner 9, which entered Mars orbit in 1971 and is expected to remain in orbit until approximately 2022, when the spacecraft is projected to enter the Martian atmosphere and either burn up or crash into the planet's surface.[41] The Viking 1 orbiter is predicted not to decay until at least 2019.[42] One orbiter that is confirmed to have undergone Mars atmospheric entry is Mars Climate Orbiter.[citation needed]


Zhurong (rover)Tianwen-1Ingenuity (helicopter)Perseverance (rover)InSightCuriosity (rover)Phoenix (spacecraft)Opportunity (rover)Spirit (rover)Sojourner (rover)Mars PathfinderViking 2Viking 1Mars 3

Future missionsEdit

In developmentEdit

Mission Organization Launch Type
Psyche NASA
  United States
August 2022 2023 Flyby en route to 16 Psyche
ExoMars 2022

Kazachok lander /"Rosalind Franklin" rover

September 2022 Lander
September 2022[43][44] Rover
Martian Moons Exploration (MMX) JAXA
September 2024[45][46] Orbiter
Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorer mission (ESCAPADE)

Photon Blue and Gold

  United States
October 2024[47] 2 Orbiters
Mars Orbiter Mission 2 (Mangalyaan 2) ISRO
2024[48][49] Orbiter[50][51]
ZhengHe CNSA
2025[52][53] 2027 flyby en route to 311P/PANSTARRS
Mid 2020s Orbiter


Mission Organisation Proposed
2022 Rover and aircraft
Next Mars Orbiter (NeMO) NASA
  United States
2022[55] Telecomm orbiter[56] (originally proposed for 2022)
Starship Demo mission SpaceX
  United States
2022 or 2024 Lander, cargo[57]
Biological Oxidant and Life Detection (BOLD) Washington State University
  United States
2022 Landing probes and Impactors


2022[58][59] Orbiter
Mars-Grunt Roscosmos
2024 Orbiter, lander, ascent vehicle, sample-return
Starship Crewed mission SpaceX
  United States
2024 or 2026 Lander, cargo, crew[60]
Icebreaker Life NASA
  United States
2026 Lander
Deimos and Phobos Interior Explorer (DePhine) ESA
2030 Orbiter and moon flybys
Mars MetNet FMI
TBD Impactors
Mars Geyser Hopper NASA
  United States
TBD Hopper
Mars Micro Orbiter (MMO) NASA
  United States
? Orbiter
Phobos And Deimos & Mars Environment NASA
  United States
? Orbiter
Mars Exploration Ice Mapper NASA
  United States
Canadian Space Agency
Italian Space Agency
2026 Orbiter
Mars sample-return mission NASA
  United States
2026 Orbiter/Lander/Return vehicle
Chinese Mars sample-return mission CNSA
2028[61][62] Orbiter, lander, ascenter, return vehicle

Missions to the moons of MarsEdit

Deimos (lower left) and Phobos (lower right) compared with the asteroid 951 Gaspra
Phobos by Mars Global Surveyor in 1998[63]

Missions dedicated to explore the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos. Many missions to Mars have also included dedicated observations of the moons, while this section is about missions focused solely on them. There have been three unsuccessful dedicated missions and many proposals. Because of the proximity of the Mars moons to Mars, any mission to them may also be considered a mission to Mars from some perspectives.

There have been at least three proposals in the United States Discovery Program, including PADME, PANDORA, and MERLIN.[64] The ESA has also considered a sample return mission, one of the latest known as Martian Moon Sample Return or MMSR, and it may use heritage from an asteroid sample return mission.[65]

Proposal Target Reference
Aladdin Phobos and Deimos [66]
DePhine Phobos and Deimos [67]
DSR Deimos [68]
Gulliver Deimos [69]
Hall Phobos and Deimos [70]
M-PADS Phobos and Deimos [71]
Merlin Phobos and Deimos [72]
MMSR (2011 ver.) Phobos or Deimos [65]
OSRIS-REx 2 Phobos or Deimos [73]
Pandora Phobos and Deimos [64]
PCROSS Phobos [74]
Phobos Surveyor Phobos [75]
PRIME Phobos [76]
Fobos-Grunt 2 Phobos [77]
Phootprint Phobos [78][79]
PADME Phobos and Deimos [80][81]

In Japan, the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) is developing a sample return mission to Phobos,[82][83] due to launch in 2024. This mission is called Martian Moons Exploration (MMX)[84] and is proposed as a flagship Strategic Large Mission.[85] MMX will build on the expertise the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) would gain through the Hayabusa2 and SLIM missions.[86] As of January 2018, MMX is set for launch in September 2024.[87]

Planned mission Target Reference
Martian Moons Exploration (MMX) Phobos and Deimos [84]

Three missions to land on Phobos have been launched; the Phobos program in the late 1980s saw the launch of Fobos 1 and Fobos 2, while the Fobos-Grunt sample return mission was launched in 2011. None of these missions were successful: Fobos 1 failed en route to Mars, Fobos 2 failed shortly before landing, and Fobos-Grunt never left low Earth orbit.

Launched mission Target Reference
Phobos 1 Phobos
Phobos 2 Phobos
Fobos-Grunt Phobos

Missions sent to the Martian system have returned data on Phobos and Deimos and missions specifically dedicated to the moons are a subset of missions Mars that often include dedicated goals to acquire data about these moons. An example of this is the imaging campaigns by Mars Express of the Mars moons.

Osiris-Rex 2 was a proposal to make OR a double mission, with the other one collecting samples from the two Mars moons.[88] In 2012, it was stated that this mission would be the both quickest and least expensive way to get samples from the Moons.[73]

The 'Red Rocks Project', a part of Lockheed Martin's "Stepping stones to Mars" program, proposed to explore Mars robotically from Deimos.[89][90]

Unrealized conceptsEdit

examples only


  • Mars 4NM and Mars 5NM – projects intended by the Soviet Union for heavy Marsokhod (in 1973 according to initial plan of 1970) and Mars sample return (planned for 1975). The missions were to be launched on the failed N1 rocket.[91]
  • Mars 5M (Mars-79) – double-launching Soviet sample return mission planned to 1979 but cancelled due to complexity and technical problems
  • Voyager-Mars – USA, 1970s – Two orbiters and two landers, launched by a single Saturn V rocket.


  • Vesta – the multiaimed Soviet mission, developed in cooperation with European countries for realisation in 1991–1994 but canceled due to the Soviet Union disbanding, included the flyby of Mars with delivering the aerostat and small landers or penetrators followed by flybys of 1 Ceres or 4 Vesta and some other asteroids with impact of penetrator on the one of them.
  • Mars Aerostat – Russian/French balloon part for cancelled Vesta mission and then for failed Mars 96 mission,[92] originally planned for the 1992 launch window, postponed to 1994 and then to 1996 before being cancelled.[93]
  • Mars Together, combined U.S. and Russian mission study in the 1990s. To be launched by a Molinya with possible U.S. orbiter or lander.[94][95]
  • Mars Environmental Survey – set of 16 landers planned for 1999–2009
  • Mars-98 – Russian mission including an orbiter, lander, and rover, planned for 1998 launch opportunity as repeat of failed Mars 96 mission; cancelled due to lack of funding



  • Sky-Sailor – 2014 – Plane developed by Switzerland to take detailed pictures of Mars surface
  • Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher – 2018 rover concept, cancelled due to budget cuts in 2011. Sample cache goal later moved to Mars 2020 rover.[98]
  • Red Dragon – Derivative of a Dragon 2 capsule by SpaceX, designed to land by aerobraking and retropropulsion. Planned for 2018, then 2020. Canceled in favor of the Starship system.
  • Tumbleweed rover, wind-propelled sphere[99]
NASA missions to Mars (28 September 2021)
(Perseverance rover; Ingenuity Mars Helicopter; InSight lander; Odyssey orbiter; MAVEN orbiter; Curiosity rover; Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Chronology of Mars Exploration. NASA. Retrieved on 1 December 2011.
  2. ^ "Pathfinder Rover Gets Its Name".
  3. ^ "Russia's unmanned missions to Mars". Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  4. ^ a b c "Chronology of Mars Missions". ResearchGate. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Missions to Mars". The Planetary Society.
  6. ^ NASA Space Science Data Center, Mars 2 Lander. Retrieved 11 Feb. 2021.
  7. ^ a b Perminov, V.G. (July 1999). The Difficult Road to Mars - A Brief History of Mars Exploration in the Soviet Union. NASA Headquarters History Division. pp. 34–60. ISBN 0-16-058859-6.
  8. ^ Webster, Guy (11 April 2013). "NASA Mars Orbiter Images May Show 1971 Soviet Lander". NASA. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  9. ^ "Mars 3 Lander". Planetary Society. The Mars 2 and 3 rover, which landed on Mars in 1971.
  10. ^ "The First Rover on Mars - The Soviets Did It in 1971". NASA. Mars 3 was the first spacecraft to make a successful soft landing on Mars.
  11. ^ a b "Mars 3 Spacecraft and Subsystems, NSSDCA cat". Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  12. ^ NASA Space Science Data Center, Mars 3 Lander. Retrieved 11 Feb. 2021.
  13. ^ Pyle, Rod (2012). Destination Mars. Prometheus Books. pp. 73–78. ISBN 978-1-61614-589-7. It was the first spacecraft to enter orbit around another world.
  14. ^ "Soviet Mars Images".
  15. ^ NSSDC - Mars 6
  16. ^ "Mars Pathfinder Science Results". NASA. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  17. ^ "Mars Pathfinder Welcome to Mars Sol 86 (1 October 1997) Images". 1 October 1997. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  18. ^ "ESA - Beautiful new images from Rosetta's approach to Mars: OSIRIS UPDATE". 24 February 2007. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  19. ^ Ray, Kalyan (8 February 2017). "Isro-Mars orbiter mission life extended up to 2020". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
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