Special Report

The Most Important Events in NASA's History

Source: nasacommons / Flickr

21. Land rover debuts
> Date: July 26-Aug. 7, 1971

Apollo 15 was the first mission to include the lunar rover, which extended the range the astronauts could reach on the moon. Moonwalkers David Scott and James Irwin brought back 173 pounds of moon rocks.

Source: NASA / Wikimedia Commons

22. Spacecraft orbits Mars
> Date: Nov. 13, 1971

Mariner 9 made history by becoming the first human-made object to orbit another planet when it circled Mars.

Source: NASA

23. NASA launches Pioneer missions
> Date: March 3, 1972-present

NASA launched the Pioneer spacecrafts beginning in 1972 to prepare for possible missions to the four large planets in the solar system — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Pioneer 10 was launched in 1972 and in 1973, NASA put Pioneer 11 into space.

Source: NASA

24. Landsat goes into space
> Date: July 23, 1972-present

Landsat 1, launched in 1972, was a different mission for NASA. Originally called the Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS), Landsat was an Earth resource mapping mission that provided data on vegetation, insect infestations, crop growth, and other land uses. Subsequent Landsat vehicles were launched in 1975 and 1978.

Source: nasacommons / Flickr

25. US launches Skylab
> Date: May 14, 1973

Skylab, the first American space station and laboratory, was launched into space on May 14, 1973. It orbited Earth for four years. Skylab had onboard a solar observatory, a multiple docking adapter, an airlock module with spacewalk hatches, and the orbital workshop.

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