No planet beyond Earth has been studied as intensely as Mars. Recorded observations of Mars date as far back as the era of ancient Egypt over 4,000 years ago, when they charted the planet's movements in the sky. Today, NASA has a fleet of robotic spacecraft study Mars from all angles.
- On the ground: NASA's next-generation Perseverance rover – the largest, most advanced rover NASA has sent to another world – touched down on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. Two other NASA spacecraft already are at work on the surface. NASA's Curiosity rover is exploring Mount Sharp in Gale Crater. NASA's InSight, a stationary lander, is probing the interior of Mars from a site on a flat smooth plain called Elysium Planitia.
- In the air: The Ingenuity helicopter flew to Mars attached to the belly of Perseverance. On April 19, 2021, Ingenuity became the first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet.
- In orbit: NASA has three spacecraft in orbit: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, and MAVEN.
- International missions: The Hope orbiter from the United Arab Emirates arrived at Mars on Feb. 9, 2021. China’s Tianwen-1 mission arrived on Feb. 10, 2021, and it includes an orbiter, a lander, and a rover. In May 2021, China became the second nation to ever land successfully on Mars when its Zhurong Mars rover touched down. ESA manages the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Mars Express missions. India's first Red Planet spacecraft – the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) – has been orbiting Mars since 2014.