The United States began the journey to Mars exploration in 1976 when the Viking Lander I successfully landed on the Martian surface. Since then, NASA has made continual efforts to explore and research Mars to eventually have a human mission sent to Mars and on July 30 launched the Perseverance rover.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off at 7:50 a.m. July 30 from Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. On board are NASA's Perseverance rover and Ingenuity, a helicopter designed to fly on the Red Planet. They are expected to arrive on Mars in February. Photo by Joel Kowsky/NASA
Pilots Troy Asher and Stu Broce walk out of NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center's hangar toward the flight line in Palmdale, Calif., on June 17. In addition to aeronautics research, Flight Operations personnel support such missions as the Mars Perseverance rover, slated to launch in July. Photo by Lauren Hughes/NASA