The first attempts to reach Mars began more than 60 years ago, when the former Soviet Union launched two probes to Mars. Both failed to reach Earth orbit. The success of China’s Tianwen-1 and the United Arab Emirates’ Hope orbiter in February, along with the success of the United States’ Perseverance and Ingenuity mission, means more nations are exploring Mars than at any time in history.
In-service Mars Spacecraft
With the safe arrival of China’s Zhurong rover on May 14, 2021, Mars has 14 spacecraft in service on or around the planet. China becomes only the second nation, behind the United States, to successfully land a rover on Mars.
Success and Failure Rate by Country
The former Soviet Union was the first nation to attempt reaching Mars in 1960, but its first nine attempts failed.
In 1971, the United States achieved a successful flyby, but the Soviet Union was first to land an object on the planet later that year, though contact failed shortly after.
In 1976, NASA’s Viking 1 became the first lander to successfully operate. It lasted more than five years.
Note: Mission attempts are counted by main launch, not segments such as orbiter/lander/rover attempt.