Camera, Backup, Viking Lander

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

This ITEK Corporation camera for the Viking Mars Lander Camera was a flight-qualified backup unit. Each Viking lander used two identical cameras during their landings in 1976 to image the surface of the red planet. Each camera was capable of resolving high and low resolution images in black and white and color by scanning the area with mirrors and photodetectors. The cameras did not use conventional film, and instead scanned the surface in vertical segments. They were mounted on the Lander such that they would be 1.3 meters above the surface of Mars, and 0.8 meters from each other to achieve stereoscopic images. Cameras like this produced the first detailed images of the Martian surface.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center transferred this artifact to the Museum in 2004.