Mars Timeline

  • 100

    400 BC Babylonians record existence of Mars

    400 BC Babylonians record existence of Mars
    The first dicsovery of Mars was made by the Babylonians who called it Nergal. They believed it caused pestilence, fever and devastation, because it was the underworld personification of the sun god Utu and the god of the netherworld.
  • Galileo Galilei observes Mars' phases

    Galileo Galilei observes Mars' phases
    Galilei reported in a letter, dated December 30, 1610, to a friend that "I dare not affirm that I was able to observe the phases of Mars; nevertheless, if I am not mistaken, I believe that I have seen that it is not perfectly round."
  • Syrtis Major discovered

    Syrtis Major discovered
    Christian Huygens, a Dutch astronomer and physicist discovered the Syrtis Major. The Syrtis Major is simply a dark spot on the surface of Mars where at the time, led to the belief of extraterrestrial life.
  • Giovanni Schiaparelli discoveres several lines on the Martian surface

    Giovanni Schiaparelli discoveres several lines on the Martian surface
    A map of mars published by Schiaparellin in 1877 revealed several lines crossing eachother. Schiaparelli uses the Italian term "canali" to describe the streaks on the surface of Mars. This is wrongly thought to mean "canals," and is thought to imply that there is some form of developed life on mars which essentially built canals.
  • Asaph Hall discovers Martian moons

    Asaph Hall discovers Martian moons
    In 1877, astronomer Asaph Hall spotted the two moons and named them Phobos, which means fear, and Deimos, which means panic. They were named after the mythical horses that drew the chariot of the Roman god, Mars.
  • Mariner 4 Launched

    Mariner 4 Launched
    On this date, Mariner 4 was launched successfully for an 8 month journey to Mars. July 14, 1965, it made its first flyby, taking detailed pictures of the planet. In the pictures, many impact craters were discovered, some of them covered in frost from the cold. The Mariner 4 functioned for three whole years in orbit, and continued with studies of solar wind and coordinated measurements of the planet.
  • Viking 1 and 2

    Viking 1 and 2
    There were two space crafts used in the Viking mission, vikings 1 and 2. They were launched within two weeks of each other and were both orbiters and landers. They took high resolutions of most of the planet, and took water vapor measurements and infrared thermal mapping. The results were extremeley revolutionary and showed volcanoes, canyons and craters.
  • Mars Pathfinder Launch

    Mars Pathfinder Launch
    After the initial launching, the pathfinder cruised for 7 months. Once it reached Mars, it quickly began gathering data and images. It took 16,000 lander images and 550 rover images. In addition to photographs, the rover performed 20 chemical analyses of rocks and soil. These gatherings greatly contribute to the knowledge of mars that modern america has today.
  • Mars Climate Orbiter Launched

    Mars Climate Orbiter Launched
    The mission's intent was to survey the climate of Mars to gain more information for a potential climate for human inhabitants as well as determining possible life on the planet, Mars Climate Orbiter was lost on arrival September 23, 1999. Engineers concluded that the spacecraft entered the planet's atmosphere too low and probably burned up.
  • Mars Odyssey Launches

    Mars Odyssey Launches
    In Cape Canaveral, the Mars Odyssey launched. It later failed to respond to a routine data transfer, but was eventually revived in 2002. It's primary goals were to gather data to determine wether the environment on mars could ever hold life.
  • Mars Odyssey reaches Mars

    Mars Odyssey reaches Mars
    10:26 p.m, word was recieved regarding the landing of the Mars Odyssey. The mission discovered the amount and distribution of many chemical elements and minerals that make up the surface of Mars. Maps of hydrogen distribution led scientists to learn of large sums of water ice in the polar regions buried beneath the surface.
  • Water-lain Sedimentary Rock on Mars

    Water-lain Sedimentary Rock on Mars
    "Two sets of water-lain sedimentary rock units show how sediments were deposited long before the material became rock." (NASA) This means that at one point in mars' history, a form of water did indeed exist. The sedimentary rocks that were discovered, were at one point deposited by wind and flowing water, and precipitated from evaporating water in a desert like environmental setting.
  • NASA launches Phoenix

    NASA launches Phoenix
    Phoenix arrived on May 25, 2008. This was the intent of the mission: "Phoenix will land farther north than any previous mission, at a latitude equivalent to that of northern Alaska. During the course of its three-month mission, Phoenix will dig down to an ice-rich layer that scientists calculate lies within inches of the surface. It will check samples of soil and ice for evidence about whether the site was ever hospitable to life." The program completed all observations and experiments.
  • Curiosity Lands

    Curiosity Lands
    Launched November 26, 2011, the Mars Science Laboratory launches, carrying with it, the Sports Utility Vehicle sized rover, Curiosity. On the 6th of August, NASA's Curiosity finally touched down. The rover is currently taking all sorts of data in and sending it back to earth. This mission is still far from over.
  • Period: to

    NASA will launch MAVEN

    MAVEN (Mars Atmospheric and Volatile Evolution). MAVEN will provide information on how and how fast atmospheric gases are being lost to space today, and infer from those detailed studies what happened in the past. Studying how the Martian atmosphere was lost to space can reveal clues about the impact that change had on the martian climate, geologic, and geochemical conditions over time, all of which are important in understanding whether Mars had an environment able to support life.