Which Countries Have Had Missions to Mars?
Countries involved in successful missions to Mars include the United States, Russia (formerly the USSR) and India. In addition to these countries, Japan and China launched several spacecraft towards Mars, but never successfully carried out missions. In addition to countries, some space agencies, including the European Space Agency, have histories of successful Mars missions too.
According to NASA, the former USSR made the first attempt in 1960 at a mission to Mars. The USSR sent two spacecraft, the Korabl 4 and Korabl 5, on flyby missions. These vessels, however, never left Earth's atmosphere, ultimately failing an orbital mission.
The United States successfully sent the Mariner 4 to Mars in 1964, making it the first country reaching that planet. The Mariner 4 returned carrying over 20 photographs of Mars. The United States followed that mission with the launch of the Mariner 6 and Mariner 7 in 1969. These spacecraft retrieved over 100 new pictures of Mars.
In 2003, the European Space Agency sent the Mars Express Orbiter with a companion, the Beagle 2 Lander, to Mars. The Lander vanished after arriving on Mars, but the Express Orbiter returned to Earth with detailed images of Mars.
In 2013, India joined the ranks of countries with successful Mars journeys. The Indian Space Research Organization sent the spacecraft Mars Orbiter Mission to Mars, becoming the first Asian nation to do so and first country with a successful inaugural Mars mission.