The Viking project consisted of two space probes, Viking 1 and Viking 2, each composed of an orbiter designed to place itself in orbit around Mars and a lander able to descend gently to the surface of the planet.
Viking 1 landed on Mars to the west of Chryse Planitia on 20 July 1976 and Viking 2 on 3 September on Utopia Planitia. These probes sent back images of deserted, stony land. Two discoveries: the sky is not dark blue but pink because of the particles of dust in suspension in the atmosphere; and Viking 2 recorded a Marsquake.
The results sent back by the Viking probes are colossal. It is sufficient to realise that 30 years after this extraordinary mission, the data is still being analysed! The Vikings gave the most complete and detailed view of Mars ever obtained. All the information on this website come largely from the work of the Vikings. The sections on geology, volcanoes, impact craters, the atmosphere, meteorology, water and ice, together with the search for forms of life, are only a tiny summary of the data accumulated by this exemplary mission. The vision of Mars given by Viking was not as revolutionary as that provided by Mariner 9 in its day, but the mission surpassed all the previous missions in the variety, the quality and the quantity of results sent back for four reasons: the number of probes involved, the number of experiments carried out, the length of the mission and the data transmission rate.