Viking 1 lifts off

VikingThe Viking 1 unmanned space probe, built by NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, lifts off en route to the planet Mars. Intended to gather and study soil samples on-site on the Martian surface, Viking 1 will take eleven months to reach the red planet. Viking 1 is not the first attempt to land a spacecraft on Mars; the Soviet Union has been attempting such a feat since the 1960s.