Two out of three missions to the red planet have failed. One reason there have been so many losses is that there have been so many attempts. “Mars is a favorite target,” says Dr. Firouz Naderi, manager of the Mars Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “We — the United States and former USSR — have been going to Mars for 40 years. The first time we flew by a planet, it was Mars. The first time we orbited a planet, it was Mars. The first time we landed on a planet it was Mars, and the first time we roved around the surface of a planet, it was Mars. We go there often.” Another reason is that getting to Mars is hard.