Space History Photo: Viking I Spacecraft in Cleanroom

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Viking, the planetary landing spacecraft, is under assembly in 1974 for its 1976 mission to Mars. (Image credit: NASA.)

In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, the planetary landing spacecraft Viking, which includes stereo cameras, a weather station, an automated stereo analysis laboratory and a biology instrument that can detect life, is under assembly in May of 1974 at Martin Marietta Aerospace near Denver, Colorado.

This Viking spacecraft will travel more than 460 million miles from Earth to a soft landing on Mars in 1976 to explore the surface and atmosphere of the red planet. Martin Marietta is prime and integration contractor for the Viking mission to NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia. The lander will be powered by two nuclear generators.

Each weekday, looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the U.S. government agency in charge of the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Founded in 1958, NASA is a civilian space agency aimed at exploring the universe with space telescopes,  satellites, robotic spacecraft, astronauts and more. The space agency has 10 major centers based across the U.S. and launches robotic and crewed missions from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Florida. It's astronaut corps is based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. To follow NASA's latest mission, follow the space agency on Twitter or any other social channel, of visit: