How the world’s largest solar-powered vehicle made it to the moon
When it came time for NASA to launch its robotic Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to the Moon in 2004, the agency’s goal was to make it the first vehicle to reach the lunar surface, the spacecraft’s creator, Elon Musk, said in 2004.
He later said the goal was for the mission to “fly the first man on the moon.”
But the mission failed to meet Musk’s original goal, and in 2007, the mission’s crew became the first human beings to die on the surface of the Moon.
The spacecraft’s landing site, where it was supposed to land on the lunar slopes, was not identified by the agency.
In January 2016, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity landed on Mars, a feat that has only been accomplished a handful of times in history.
So how did NASA land on Mars in the first place?
It took about a week to get to Mars.
NASA has a Mars Exploration Rovers program that is intended to send a rover to Mars and back on a trajectory that will bring back samples of Martian soil, rock, and soil samples that will be analyzed for evidence of past microbial life.
The Mars Exploration Robotic Exploration Rover (MERRO) mission is a NASA initiative to send humans to Mars, one of the last major missions in the Mars Exploration Program.
The program’s goals include finding life on Mars and returning samples from the planet.
This article originally appeared on National Geographic.