NASA’s Viking 2 lander, launched from Earth almost exactly a year earlier touches down on Martian soil in the Utopia Planitia region. One of Viking 2’s three landing legs comes down on a rock, leaving the entire lander at an eight-degree angle to the ground. Identical to Viking 1, Viking 2 has its own soil sampling arm, though its series of tests for biological reactions within the soil produce inconclusive results (including at least one “positive” test for signs of life, later attributed to inorganic chemical reactions). Viking 2 will also later confirm that water exists, at least briefly, on the surface of Mars in the form of frost.
Viking 2 lands on Mars
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