Mars missions: A brief history

Mars missions have been launching from Earth with regularity since the 1960s, bent on exploring our planetary neighbor. With its potential for liquid water — and therefore, life — Mars is an alluring target. 

But it’s a difficult journey, and only about half of all Mars missions successfully make it to the Red Planet, according to NASA. A “Great Galactic Ghoul” must be consuming them, joked a journalist and a NASA scientist corresponding in 1964, reported the Economist.