A series of largely unsuccessful Soviet space probes launched towards the planet Mars between 1962 and 1996. Contact with Mars 1, launched in November 1962, was lost en route. Mars 2 crashed on Mars on 27 November 1971, becoming the first spacecraft from Earth to reach the planet. Mars 3 landed safely five days later and transmitted video pictures for 20 seconds before communication was lost. Mars 4 and Mars 5, launched in July 1973, were intended to be orbiters but only Mars 5 achieved orbit. Mars 6 and Mars 7 were launched in August 1973, but contact was lost with Mars 6 on its final descent and Mars 7 failed to enter orbit. Mars 96 crashed to Earth soon after its launch in November 1996.
Subjects: astronomy and cosmology.