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Hit and miss missions to Mars
Most of the early missions to Mars failed, but by the mid-70s, orbiters circled the red planet, and some landers sat safely on its surface. We also have a look at a few Martian mirages, when astronomers squinting threw telescopes saw things that weren’t actually there.
Here’s an article about the things Astronomers saw that weren’t really on Mars.
Seeing and Interpreting Martian Oceans and Canals
Here’s an article talking about how what were thought to be subsurface liquid water lakes might actually be totally dry beds of clay.
Clays, Not Water, Are Likely Source of Mars ‘Lakes’
Here’s a video about some missions to Mars.
A Brief History of Mars Exploration
And here’s a timeline of Mars missions.