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Solar System Exploration
Mars 2
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Mars 02
Mars 2 Mission to Mars

Goals: The Mars 2 mission had two objectives: to place an orbiter around Mars and to put a lander on the Martian surface in working order. Each was to take pictures and collect information about the planet. In addition, the orbiter was to monitor the solar wind and the interplanetary and Martian magnetic fields.

Accomplishments: The orbiter circled Mars as desired (a first for the USSR but the second overall, since the Soviet spacecraft arrived at Mars 13 days after America's Mariner 9) and transmitted valuable data to Earth until contact was lost in July 1972. The lander, however, entered the Martian atmosphere at too steep an angle. Its parachute failed to open and the lander crashed onto the Martian surface.

Key Dates
19 May 1971:  Launch
27 Nov 1971:  Mars Orbit Insertion/Lander Crash
Status: Partial Success
Fast Facts
Mars 02 Facts Although it crashed, the Mars 2 lander was the first humanmade object to make contact with Mars.

The spacecraft's twin -- Mars 3 -- made the first survivable landing on Mars.

The lander carried a small robot called PROP-M (above), which was to walk 15 m away from the lander on a pair of skis, stopping every 1.5 m to make measurements of the soil.
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Last Updated: 30 Nov 2010