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The Race to Mars 1965 1969 1971-72 1973-74 1976 1988 1993 1996 1997 1999 2001 2003-04 2005 Milestones in exploration

Click on the years below to follow the race to Mars...


The first close-up pictures of another world are taken in the 1960s, when a space craft flies past Mars, depicting a barren wilderness.

The United States and Russia spend billions over the next 25 years trying to land a space probe on Mars. Only three are successful - Nasa's Viking landers in 1976 and its Mars Pathfinder in 1997.

A new search for water and life on Mars begins in 2003, with Europe's first solo mission to Mars and the launch of Nasa's Mars Exploration Rovers.


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