The Environs of Viking 2 Lander

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Science  17 Dec 1976:
Vol. 194, Issue 4271, pp. 1309-1318
DOI: 10.1126/science.194.4271.1309


Forty-six days after Viking 1 landed, Viking 2 landed in Utopia Planitia, about 6500 kilometers away from the landing site of Viking 1. Images show that in the immediate vicinity of the Viking 2 landing site the surface is covered with rocks, some of which are partially buried, and fine-grained materials. The surface sampler, the lander cameras, engineering sensors, and some data from the other lander experiments were used to investigate the properties of the surface. Lander 2 has a more homogeneous surface, more coarse-grained material, an extensive crust, small rocks or clods which seem to be difficult to collect, and more extensive erosion by the retro-engine exhaust gases than lander 1. A report on the physical properties of the martian surface based on data obtained through sol 58 on Viking 2 and a brief description of activities on Viking 1 after sol 36 are given.