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Missions to Mars
March 11, 2013

CURRENT MISSIONS | Future Missions | Past Missions

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter over the martian landscapeMars Reconnaissance Orbiter
Launch: Aug. 12, 2005; Arrival: Mar. 10, 2006

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is capturing unique views of Mars with the most powerful telescopic camera ever to another planet. Its five other scientific instruments are collecting data about the Red Planet.
+ View site

artist's concept of Mars Exploration RoverMars Exploration Rovers
Spirit Launch: Jun. 10, 2003; Mars Landing: Jan. 3, 2004
Opportunity Launch: Jul. 7, 2003; Mars Landing: Jan. 24, 2004

Two powerful Mars rovers are on the red planet. They have far greater mobility than the 1997 Mars Pathfinder rover. Each rover carries a sophisticated set of instruments to search for evidence of liquid water that may have been present in the planet's past. The rovers are identical to each other, but are exploring different regions of Mars.
+ Latest news and images

artist's concept of Mars ExpressMars Express
Launch: Jun. 2, 2003
Arrival: Dec. 2003

NASA is participating in Mars Express, a mission planned by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency. The mission is exploring the atmosphere and surface of Mars from polar orbit.
+ ESA's Mars Express site

artist's concept of Mars OdysseyMars Odyssey
Launch: Apr. 7, 2001
Arrival: Oct. 24, 2001

2001 Mars Odyssey is an orbiting spacecraft designed to determine the composition of the planet's surface, to detect water and shallow buried ice, and to study the radiation environment.
+ Latest news and images

artist's concept of Mars Science LaboratoryMars Science Laboratory
Launch: Nov. 26, 2011
Mars Landing: Aug. 6, 2012 (EDT)

Building on the success of the two rover geologists that arrived at Mars in January 2004, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, will assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms called microbes. In other words, its mission is to determine the planet's "habitability."

Twice as long and three times as heavy as the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, Curiosity will collect martian soil samples and rocks and analyze them for organic compounds and environmental conditions that could have supported microbial life now or in the past.
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artist's concept of Mars Science LaboratoryMars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN)
Launch: Nov. 18, 2013
Arrival: Sept. 21, 2014

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft will provide information about the Red Planet's atmosphere, climate history and potential habitability in greater detail than ever before. MAVEN - based on designs from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and 2001 Mars Odyssey missions - will make definitive scientific measurements of present-day atmospheric loss that will offer clues about the planet's history.
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Page Last Updated: November 20th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator