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08.28.2008

A Tribute to Mars Exploration

U.S. Flag on the Phoenix Mars Lander
This image shows a miniature U.S. flag on the deck of the Phoenix Mars Lander shortly after its arrival near the Martian north pole. View Related Images

As Americans celebrate Labor Day 2008, six flags stand in silent salute to the U.S. workforce on Mars. Three of the flags are on spacecraft still exploring Mars. Those include NASA's twin rovers and the Phoenix lander. One of the flags, on Mars Pathfinder, landed July 4, 1997. Two, on the Viking spacecraft, arrived in 1976, the year of the U.S. bicentennial.

The string of successful surface missions has been possible only with the help of other spacecraft. From orbit, those spacecraft have taken spectacular images. They have collected important data about Martian climate and geology. They have carried cameras so powerful they can pinpoint safe places to land. Today, those spacecraft include NASA's Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The European Space Agency's Mars Express joins them.

These and all Mars missions are a testimonial to teamwork and the spirit of exploration.

Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell


All Related Images
  • This color image shows a miniature U.S. flag on the deck of the Phoenix Mars Lander shortly after its arrival near the Martian north pole.
    U.S. Flag on the Phoenix Mars Lander
  • This color image shows a miniature U.S. flag on a petal of the landing platform beneath NASA's Spirit rover.
    U.S. Flag on NASA's Spirit rover
  • This color image shows the U.S. flag adorning the side of the Viking lander on the surface of Mars.
    U.S. Flag on the Viking lander

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