Robot Garden members built a Viking Mars replica at the Dent:Space exploring some of our important early space history. The Viking replica was built out of recycled materials, metal tubing, silver tape and hot glue. The finished Mars lander is about 4 foot tall and it will be auctioned online to support the Viking Mars Missions Preservation Project.
The Viking Mission was the first successful Mars landing. Viking 1 and 2 were launched in 1975 and landed on Mars in 1976. As well as landing successfully, the Viking landers sent the first close up images of the Martian surface back to Earth.
The Viking landers set down at Chryse Planitia and Utopia Planitia to collect scientific data. As well as taking photographs, they conducted biological experiments in search of signs of life. Although they discovered strange chemical activity in the Martian soil, there was no evidence of living microorganisms.
According to scientists, Mars is self-sterilizing. They believe the combination of solar ultraviolet radiation that saturates the surface, the extreme dryness of the soil and the oxidizing nature of the soil chemistry prevent the formation of living organisms in the Martian soil. NASA Viking Mission
The Viking Mission was intended to last for 90 days but both landers continued to operate for several years, with the last transmission from Viking 1 occurring on November 11, 1982.
Dent:Space took place at the Innovation Hangar at the Palace of Fine Arts and celebrated all aspects of space exploration, past present and future. As well as demos from companies and research groups (and Robot Garden), there were two stages of speakers like Seth Shostak from the SETI Institute, Natalie Batalhia from NASA Exoplanets, Erika Wagner from Blue Origin, and Scott Manley, from Rocket Science.
As a child of the space exploration era, I’ve always thought that building rockets was a lot of fun. And I have to say that the Viking replica build day at Dent:Space was a blast and it appealed to both adults and children!