Planetary science (rarely planetology) is the scientific study of planets (including Earth), moons, and planetary systems, in particular those of the Solar System and the processes that form them. It studies objects ranging in size from micrometeoroids to gas giants, aiming to determine their composition, dynamics, formation, interrelations and history. It is a strongly interdisciplinary field, originally growing from astronomy and earth science, but which now incorporates many disciplines, including planetary astronomy, planetary geology (together with geochemistry and geophysics), atmospheric science, oceanography, hydrology, theoretical planetary science, glaciology, and the study of extrasolar planets. Allied disciplines include space physics, when concerned with the effects of the Sun on the bodies of the Solar System, and astrobiology.
There are interrelated observational and theoretical branches of planetary science. Observational research can involve a combination of space exploration, predominantly with robotic spacecraft missions using remote sensing, and comparative, experimental work in Earth-based laboratories. The theoretical component involves considerable computer simulation and mathematical modelling.
The Mars program was a series of unmanned spacecraft launched by the Soviet Union between 1960 and 1973. The spacecraft were intended to explore Mars, and included flyby probes, landers and orbiters.
Early Mars spacecraft were small, and launched by Molniya rockets. Starting with two failures in 1969, the heavier Proton-K rocket was used to launch larger 5 tonne spacecraft, consisting of an orbiter and a lander to Mars. The orbiter bus design was likely somewhat rushed into service and immature,]citation needed[ considering that it performed very reliably in the Venera variant after 1975. This reliability problem was common to much Soviet space hardware from the late 1960s and early 1970s and was largely corrected with a deliberate policy, implemented in the mid-1970s, of consolidating (or "debugging") existing designs rather than introducing new ones. The names of the "Mars" missions do not need to be translated, as the word "Mars" is spelled and pronounced approximately the same way in English and Russian.
The Astronomy on Mars article presents information and images about viewing astronomical phenomena from the planet Mars. In many cases these are the same or similar to those seen from Earth but sometimes (as with the view of Earth as an evening/morning star) they can be quite different. For example, because the atmosphere of Mars does not contain an ozone layer, it is also possible to make UV observations from the surface of Mars.
The colonization of Mars refers to the concept of humans living on Mars. Originally a science-fiction idea it is now the subject of serious feasibility studies.
A Mars landing is a landing of a spacecraft on the surface of Mars. Of multiple attempted Mars landings by robotic, unmanned spacecraft, seven were successful.]which?[ There have also been studies for a possible manned mission to Mars, including a landing, but none have been attempted.