Photo of mars taken by Vulcan 6 in 1998

Mars's surface, taken by Vulcan 6 "Victory" rover

The Vulcan program was a probing mission carried out by the Europa Space Agency from 1986-1995 which succeeded the Mars Space Program.


The Mars program of the 1970s and 1980s was followed up by actual Martian surface landings beginning with Vulcan 1 in 1986. The Vulcan 1, 2, 3 and 4 were unmanned space probes which landed on the planet’s surface and collected rock samples before returning to earth. Vulcan 5, launched in 1989, was a probe with wheels (a rover) sent to explore the Mars' surface. Vulcan 6, 7 and 8, codenamed Victory, Liberty and Justice, followed up from 1990-1993. The final probe, Vulcan 9 was launched in 1995. The ESA began to lose contact with the probes, starting with Vulcan 5 in 1998. By 2009 all the probes had either lost their power or had lost contact. On September 6 2011, Vulcan 8 mysteriously began relaying information back to ESA headquarters and appears operational. The Vulcan missions were followed up by the Habitas Program (Habitas 9 and 10) which actually sent humans to Mars.

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