Mars is aptly referred to as the red planet as its surface is red due to a high concentration of iron oxides in the soil. Often the center of science fiction stories, Mars once was believed to support intelligent creatures. Missions to Mars in 1965 and again in 1976 found no living organisms on Mars. However, this small rocky planet, the fourth from the sun, does have polar ice caps that change in size with the seasons. It is believed that 3.5 billion years ago the most significant floods in the solar system took place on Mars. The Mars Odyssey found large amounts of ice about 1 meter below the surface of Mars in 2002. This ice, thought to be from the floods, would fill Lake Michigan over two times. This is still not enough water to explain the erosion visible on Mars.
The target icons added by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS) depict rover landing sites on Mars from 1976 - 2008. They are as follows:
Viking 1&2 (1976) - A lander module from the American Viking probes, took first color pictures and collected scientific information, such as, temperature and pressure.
Mars Pathfinder (1997) - Landed in an ancient flood plain in the northern hemisphere called Ares Vallis, returned 16,500 images and 15 chemical analyses of rocks and soil, suggested that Mars was once wet and warm.
Spirit & Opportunity (2004) - Twin rovers as part of Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Spirit landed in Gusev Crater and Opportunity landed in Maridiani Planum.
Phoenix Lander (2008) - Famous for it's successful photographs during landing moving through Mars' atmosphere by a camera on Mars orbiter.