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Life on MarsWhat to Know Before We Go$
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David A. Weintraub

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691209258

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691209258.001.0001

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Vikings on the Plains of Chryse and Utopia

Vikings on the Plains of Chryse and Utopia

(p.147) 10 Vikings on the Plains of Chryse and Utopia
Life on Mars

David A. Weintraub

Princeton University Press

This chapter refers to Viking 1, which landed on the Plains of Gold, Chryse Planitia, on Mars on July 20, 1976, followed by Viking 2, which touched down on Utopia Planitia, six weeks later. It details the landing of the two Vikings in two different locations, which allowed human-directed science experiments to take place for the first time on the surface of Mars. It also mentions the planetary scientists who discovered that the Martian atmosphere was thin and mostly made of carbon dioxide. The chapter describes the Mariner-imaging surveys of the surface of Mars, which shows the planet covered with cratered plains, a small number of enormous volcanoes, and a significant number of narrow features that looked like ancient, dried-out riverbeds and lengthy outwash channels. It confirms whether the atmosphere of Mars contains any nitrogen, as the gas is critical to life on Earth.

Keywords:   Plains of Gold, Chryse Planitia, Viking 1, Viking 2, Utopia Planitia, Martian atmosphere, Mars

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