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Lander Material

Mission: Viking I  
Launch: August 20, 1975  
Landing: July 20, 1976  
Comment: First successful landing on another planet

These metal shavings created during the production of the Viking I lander were arranged for presentation to the sitting U.S. President at the time of the touchdown, the Honorable Gerald R. Ford, by its primary contractor, Martin Marietta. NASA had hoped to land Viking I on July 4, coinciding with the nation's bicentennial, however imagery of the selected landing site revealed ground features that were deemed too rough for a safe touchdown. A new site was chosen in the Chryse Planitia and Viking I made the historic first landing on another planet. Presumeably, this lucite presentation is not in President Ford's archives because the date listed as the landing is incorrect. It is unknown if a corrected display was ever made and/or presented to President Ford.

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