Infographic of the Day: We're Getting Good at Going to Mars

Mankind has sent over 40 missions to Mars, and they've only recently begun succeeding.

Mars Missions

Maybe ever since the Moon landing, it's been pretty easy to overestimate the success of our space programs—when we want to go somewhere or launch something, we just do it, right? In actuality, space exploration remains a high risk endeavor, as the various Space Shuttle disasters have proven. And going to Mars? Maybe it's out closest planet, but going there isn't as easy as it seems.

To prove it, here's a clever graph of all the missions ever sent to Mars. As you can see, it's basically a bar graph; missions to Mars as listed chronologically, and the mission result is coded by how close the corresponding bar reaches to Mars.

As you can see, we should be seeing a blitz of new Mars activity in the next couple of year (though the Russian Phobos-Grunt expedition, originally scheduled for this month, has been pushed back to 2011).

Full-size version at We Love Data Viz, but here's a smaller one, to give you a feel for the entire poster:

Mars Missions

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  • Dorin McMillan

    Well if Phobos and Deimos were in fact pieces of a larger moon that fractured at one time to become the two satellites that we have today and your theory about how the Moon pulls excess atmosphere off of the planet that helps keep the environemental affects from turning into a greenhouse is true then the reason why Mars lost it's atmosphere would have been a result of the gravity of the Martian moon dissipating because of the fracture of the moon, which I will mythicaly call Silmari, which would have had the affect on Mars of superheating the atmosphere like you say what happens on Venus.
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