2 years after tiny spacecraft made Mars history, where are all their successors?

When NASA’s most recent Mars lander trekked out to the Red Planet, it had historic company: two tiny cubesats, the first to leave the relative safety of Earth orbit.

The Mars Cube One (MarCO) mission’s twin briefcase-sized satellites watched NASA’s InSight lander touch down in November 2018, confirming that the infamous “six minutes of terror” landing sequence went smoothly before NASA’s fleet of Mars orbiters could check in on the newest arrival. The MarCO cubesats, affectionately nicknamed Wall-E and Eva, blazed the trail for other small satellites to adventure beyond Earth’s orbit — though none of those missions have launched yet.

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