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Early Spacecraft Exploration Viking


Early Spacecraft Exploration Viking The scientific goal of the Viking missions is to increase our knowledge of the planet Mars with an emphasis on the search ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Early Spacecraft Exploration Viking

Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
  • The scientific goal of the Viking missions is to
    increase our knowledge of the planet Mars with
    an emphasis on the search for extra-terrestrial
    life. The scientific questions deal with the
    atmosphere, the surface, the planetary body, and
    the question of bio-organic evolution.

Viking Press Kit, July 1975
Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
Get down and get dirty.
Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
  • The primary mission objectives were to
  • Obtain high resolution images of the Martian
  • Characterize the structure and composition of the
    atmosphere and surface and
  • Search for evidence of life

Twin orbiter/lander combo
Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
  • Orbiter instruments
  • Visual Imaging Subsystem two cameras (124
    ft/px) could resolve objects the size of a
    football field
  • IR Thermal (temperature) Mapper
  • Mars Atmospheric Water Detector
  • Again a question Are we now seeing the last
    disappearing remnants of water that was once much
    more plentiful on the planet, or is Mars locked
    in an ice age that has frozen out most of its
    water in the polar caps or beneath a layer of
    surface dust?

Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
  • Lander instruments
  • Two panoramic cameras
  • Sampler arm
  • Meteorology boom w/ temperature, wind direction
    and velocity sensors
  • Seismometer
  • Biology experiment
  • Gas chromatograph mass spectrometer
  • X-ray fluorescence spectrometer
  • More info on each instrument can be found at

Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
  • V1 Launched August 20, 1975 arrived at Mars June
    19, 1976
  • Devoted first month to searching for landing
    sites for the lander V1 lander touched down July
    20, 1976 in Chryse Planitia

Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
  • V2 launched September 9, 1975, arrived at Mars on
    August 7, 1976
  • First month devoted to searching for a landing
    site V2 touched down September 3, 1976 in Utopia

Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
  • Landing Site Locations

Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
  • With landers on the ground, orbiters continued
    science mission above and acted as data relays
    for landers

Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
  • DATA!!

Early Spacecraft Exploration Viking
  • How would you rate the quality of these images?
  • What observations can you make?
  • How would you interpret these observations?
  • What can you say we know about Mars at this
    point? How certain are you?
  • What questions would you ask about Mars?
  • How would you attempt to answer these questions?
  • What are the limitations to this type of mission

Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
Sinuous canyon in Nanedi Vallis
Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
Large outflow channel originating at chaotic
Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
Stream-lined Islands in Ares Vallis
Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
Dendritic Drainage Network
Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
Channel in Ares Vallis 25km (16 miles) wide,
1km (0.6 miles) deep
Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
Ma'adim Vallis (300km 186 miles) runs north
and terminates into Gusev Crater (right).
Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
Viking 2 lander touched down with one pad on a
boulder tilted 8.
Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
  • Notable results from Viking orbiters
  • Mapped 97 of the surface 52,000 total images
  • Definitively determined the North residual polar
    cap is water-ice, not frozen carbon dioxide
  • Stirred up a little controversy with one
    particular image

Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
  • Notable results from Viking landers
  • Biology experiments provided no clear evidence
    for the presence of living organisms in soil near
    the landing sites
  • Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer found no
    evidence of organic material at either landing
  • Winds blew more slowly than anticipated (200
    MPH) highest recorded wind gust was 120 km/hr
    (74 mph) and average velocities were much lower
  • Weather in the Martian midsummer was repetitious
    but was variable and more interesting in other

Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
  • Notable results from Viking landers
  • Atmospheric composition
  • CO2 95.32
  • N 2.7
  • Ar 1.6
  • O 0.13
  • CO 0.7
  • H2O (vapor) 0.03

Early Spacecraft ExplorationViking
  • How did Viking advance scientific understanding
    of Mars?
  • Difficult for life to exist on the surface at
    present, but this does not rule out past life
  • More evidence for past habitability
  • Weather patterns
  • Though no current life, Mars is a dynamic planet
  • What technological advance(s) did Viking carry?
  • LANDER!!
  • Higher res. Cameras
  • Weather station
  • Biology experiments
  • Orbiters acted as communications relay, selective
    landing sites
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