Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

July 16, 1995
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The Exploration of Mars
Picture Credit: NASA,Viking Project, USGS

Explanation: Thirty years ago NASA's exploration of Mars began. In July of 1965 the Mariner 4 spacecraft flew within 6,000 miles of Mars and returned 21 pictures of the mysterious red planet. NASA's continued exploration of Mars has produced detailed views of the red tinged Martian surface like the one shown above which is a composite of 102 images from the Viking missions to Mars . The composite was constructed by the US Geological Survey.

For more information about the picture see the NSSDC Photo Gallery of Mars.

The exploration of Mars is chronicled by the Center For Mars Exploration.

We keep an archive of Astronomy Pictures of the Day.
Astronomy Picture of the Day is brought to you by Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell . Original material on this page is copyrighted to Robert J. Nemiroff and Jerry T. Bonnell.