Assuming the Dragon V2 will be the lander for SpaceX Mars mission launching in 2018, will it be the largest lander (either by weight or by size) that humans have put on Mars to date?

Wikipedia has the Dragon V2 listed as 8.1m tall (~5.1m tall excluding the trunk) with a diameter of 3.7m. It also has a dry mass of 6,400 kg.

Curiosity, the largest rover I'm aware of is 2.9m x 2.7m x 2.2m, so it's much shorter than the Dragon V2, and about a third less wide. It has a listed dry mass of 900kg so it's much lighter.

Has anything larger been put on the surface of Mars, or will the Dragon V2 be the largest lander to date?

  • $\begingroup$ That 8.1m height includes the trunk which would be detached before entry and landing. $\endgroup$ – Hobbes May 15 '16 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Hobbes Any idea how big the trunk is exactly so I can edit the question with specifics? $\endgroup$ – Sarah Bailey May 16 '16 at 13:19
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    $\begingroup$ About 3 m. SpaceX doesn't specify exactly, this PDF has the best data I've seen so far but is about internal volumes: wsn.spaceflight.esa.int/docs/Factsheets/… $\endgroup$ – Hobbes May 16 '16 at 19:14

Yes, by quite a bit. Right now the heaviest object soft landed on Mars is Curiosity, as you noted. The mass of it is 900 kg. The Red Dragon is 6400 kg, plus payload of up to 2000 kg (Maybe more for later flights)

In fact, when successful, the Dragon will be more than the sum of every other object which attempted to soft landed on Mars. Each Viking massed 600 kg, Curiosity 900, Phoenix 350, Spirit and Opportunity each 530 kg (For the package that landed on the surface, the rovers are much less), Pathfinder/Sojourner 280, Mars 2, 3, and 6 about 360 kg each, Mars Polar Landar was 290 kg, and Beagle 2 35 kg. Total is about 5300 kg, under the mass of the Red Dragon alone.

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    $\begingroup$ You're list is missing two failed landers. The Mars Polar Lander (290kg, Phoenix's predecessor), and Beagle 2 (29kg, a small lander that was sent as part of the ESAs 2003 mission). Their total mass isn't enough to change your final conclusion. $\endgroup$ – Dan Neely May 13 '16 at 2:55

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