Viking Lander 1 on the 40th Anniversary of the Smithsonian
Viking Lander 1 on the 40th Anniversary of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum
ESP_046170_2025  Science Theme: Future Exploration/Landing Sites
This HiRISE image of the Viking Lander 1 (VL1) and backshell was taken in early June 2016, to support the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. A signal from the Viking 1 spacecraft as it was approaching Mars was used to trigger the ribbon-cutting to open the Museum on 1 July 1976. The lander is now a part of the Smithsonian’s collection and the image recreates the sense of that event.

VL1 touched down in western Chryse Planitia on 20 July 1976 and has a diameter of about 3 meters. The VL1 landing site has been named the Thomas Mutch Memorial Station and the lander and associated hardware were first imaged by HiRISE in 2006.

Written by: John Grant  (20 July 2016)
Acquisition date
02 June 2016

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
285.0 km (177.2 miles)

Original image scale range
28.5 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~86 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
50°, with the Sun about 40° above the horizon

Solar longitude
162.1°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  355.9°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (1260MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (732MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (625MB)
non-map           (667MB)

IRB color
map projected  (289MB)
non-map           (530MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (379MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (368MB)

RGB color
non map           (530MB)
B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products

IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
About color products (PDF)

Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible:
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.