50 years of planetary exploration

Russia U.S. Europe Rest of the world
1957-1961
Jan. 1959 -Luna 1 moon probe enters solar orbit

Sep. 1959 - Luna 2 crashes on the Moon, 1st manufactured object to reach another celestial body

Oct. 1959 - Luna 3 beams back the 1st picture of the far side of the Moon's farside

March 1959 - Pioneer 4 probe misses the Moon and enters solar orbit
1962-1966
Feb. 1966 - Luna 9. 1st soft landing on the Moon

Apr. 1966 - Luna 10. 1st lunar orbiter

Dec. 1962 - 1st Venus flyby by Mariner 2

Jul. 1964 - Ranger 7 sends lunar close-up pictures before voluntarily crashing

Jul. 1965 - 1st Mars flyby by Mariner 4

June 1966 - Surveyor 1 soft lands on the Moon

Aug. 1966 - Lunar Orbiter 1 circles the Moon

1967-1971
Jan. 1967 - 62 countries sign the Outer Space Treaty which specifies that the Moon and other celestial bodies belong to the whole humankind
Oct. 1967 - Venera 4 enters the atmosphere of Venus

Sep. 1970 - Luna 16 sample return from the Moon

Nov.1970 - Lunokhod 1 rover on the Moon

Dec. 1970 - Venera 7, 1st landing on Venus

Dec. 1971 - Mars 3, 1st Mars landing, no data returned

Dec. 1968 - Apollo 8, 1st manned Moon orbiter

July 1969 - Apollo 11, 1st manned Moon landing

Nov. 1971 - Mariner 9, 1st orbiter of Mars

Nov.1970 - French laser retroreflectors on Soviet Lunokhod 1 moon rover
1972-1976
Jan. 1973 - Lunokhod 2 rover on the Moon

Aug. 1976 - Luna 24, sample return and last Soviet mission to the Moon

Dec. 1972 - Apollo 17, 6th and last manned Moon landing to date

Dec. 1973 - 1st flyby of Jupiter by Pioneer 10

March 1974 - 1st flyby of Mercury by Mariner 10

July/Sep. 1976 - Viking 1 and 2, 1st successful Mars landings

Jan.1973 - French laser retroreflectors on Soviet Lunokhod 2 moon rover

Dec. 1974 - Germany's Helios 1 is Europe's 1st deep space probe

1977-1981
August/Sep. 1977 - NASA launches Voyager 1 and 2

March/July 1979 - Voyager 1 and 2 fly by Jupiter

Sep. 1979 - 1st flyby of Saturn by Pioneer 11

Nov. 1980 - Voyager 1 flies by Saturn. 1st flyby of Titan

August 1981 - Voyager 2 flies by Saturn

1982-1986
Oct. 1983 - 1st radar mapping of Venus by Venera 15 and 16 orbiters

March 1986 - Flyby of Halley comet's nucleus by Vega 1 and 2 probes

Jan. 1986 - 1st flyby of Uranus by Voyager 2 June 1985 - French balloons deployed in Venus atmosphere by Soviet Vega 1 and 2 probes

March 1986 - Close flyby of Halley comet's nucleus by ESA's Giotto probe

Mach. 1986 - Japan's Suisei and sakigake probes approach Halley comet
1987-1991
March 1989 - Loss of the Fobos 2 Mars orbiter while approaching Phobos August 1989 - 1st flyby of Uranus by Voyager 2

August 1990 - Radar mapping of Venus by Magellan orbiter

Oct. 1991 - 1st flyby of an asteroid, Gaspra, by Galileo

1988-89 - Major French contribution to Soviet Fobos probes

1989-95 - European contribution to NASA's Galileo probe

Oct. 1990 - Ulysses probe sent to the poles of the Sun

Jan. 1990 - Hiten, Japan's 1st moon orbiter
1992-1996
Nov. 1996 - Loss of Mars 96 in launch failure Dec. 1995 - Galileo, 1st orbiter and 1st atmospheric probe of Jupiter Feb. 1992 - Flyby of Jupiter by ESA's Ulysses probe

July 1992 - Flyby of Grigg-Skjellerup comet's nucleus by ESA's Giotto probe

Jan. 1994 - French contribution to U.S. Clementine moon orbiter

Nov. 1996 - Major European contribution to Mars 96

1997-2001
July 1997 - Mars Pathfinder. 1st rover on Mars

Oct. 1997 - Launch of Cassini-Huygens

Jan. 1998 - Lunar Prospector detects ice on the Moon

Oct. 1997 - Launch of Cassini-Huygens, a joint ESA/NASA mission
2001-2006
Feb. 2000 - NEAR Shoemaker 1st orbiter of an asteroid, Eros

July 2004 - Cassini-Huygens 1st orbiter of Saturn

July 2005 - Deep Impact crashes impactor on comet Tempel 1's nucleus

Jan. 2006 - New Horizon probe launched toward Pluto

Jan. 2006 - Stardust brings back samples from comet Wild 2's coma

Dec. 2003 - Mars Express enters orbit around Mars

March 2004 - Launch of Rosetta, ESA's comet-chaser

July 2004 - Cassini-Huygens 1st orbiter of Saturn

Nov. 2004 - SMART-1 enters orbit around the Moon

Jan. 2005 - Huygens, 1st landing on Titan

April 2006 - Venus Express enters orbit around Venus

2007
Feb. 2007 - Rosetta's flyby of Mars May 2007 - Chang'e 1, China's 1st moon orbiter

Last update: 14 July 2009

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