Mard Recon Probe Spots Viking Landers

It’s the spot in the center. For an idea of the size of the lander take a look at this photo of Carl Sagan posing next to a one to one scale model of a Viking lander. The two bright points on either end must be the wind covers over the RTG and propellant tanks.

NASA’s Viking Lander 2 landed on Mars on Sept. 3, 1976, in Utopia Planitia. The lander, which has a diameter of about 3 meters (10 feet), has been precisely located in this image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Also, likely locations have been found for the heat shield and back shell. The lander location has been confirmed by overlaying the lander-derived topographic contours on the high-resolution camera’s image, which provides an excellent match.

The camera on the probe is amazing, it was even able to capture pictures of Opportunity and Spirit as they were hanging out on the surface. I wonder if NASA will image the area where the Mars Polar Lander was lost so see what might be there.

[via New Scientist]

Viking Lander 1 (Thomas A. Mutch Memorial Station) Imaged from Orbit

Viking Lander 2 (Gerald A. Soffen Memorial Station) Imaged from Orbit