Mars: Mission Statistics

Mars Exploration Family Tree Courtesy of NASA / JPL / Roscosmos / JAXA / ESA / ISRO / Jason Davis / The Planetary Society

Today we are going to discuss the different mission statistics of launching a mission to Mars. With several upcoming Mars missions set to launch in the near term future, lets take a look at the statistics about past performance.

We will take a look at the Mars missions, whether they were a failure or a success and look at some of the data analytics. There have been a total of 57 missions to Mars, with the following breakdowns to help understand some of the history behind Mars exploration.

To learn about the Mars Missions launching in 2020, check out this article on the subject.

Mission Type Breakdown

In this breakdown, we see that the most popular type of mission is the orbit, which occurred 2x as often as the landers and accounts for 38.5% of all missions as of this writing.

Mission TypeNumber Of Missions
Gravity assist2
Orbiter/Phobos lander2
Two CubeSats flyby supporting InSight1
Orbiter/Phobos sample1
Table 1: Author Created Breakdown Of Mission Type And Use

Mission Types By Decade

As we can see in the graph below, the Space Race and then the 1970’s were the greatest time for space missions to Mars. After the 1970’s, the number of missions over the decades have never been more than 9.

DecadeNumber of missions
2020s3-4 so far
Table 2: Author Created Providing Information About When Missions Launched

Outcomes Of Missions

As shown with the graph below, 28 missions have either been successful or operational. That is slightly higher than the 29 missions that have failed in some sort of manner.

Result/StatusNumber Of Missions
Spacecraft failure14
Launch failure10
Partial failure3
General Failure1
Lander failure1
Table 3: Author Created Showing Mission Status

Mission Operator Breakdown

As the table below shows, the vast majority of the launches have been from either the US or Russian space programs. This might change with the privatization of space and will change with more countries getting involved in space.

OperatorNumber Of Missions
NASA (United States)27
Soviet Union18
OKB-1 (Russia)2
CNSA (China)1
ESA/Roscosmos (Joint Mission)1
ISAS (Japan)1
ISRO (India)1
Rosaviakosmos (Russia)1
Roskosmos (Russia)1
Table 4: Author Created Table Showing Breakdown of Mission Operators

For information about NASA Missions, check out this link. For a quick summary of all the Mars Missions, check out this link.

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