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Yes, Viking communicated directly with Earth. Not to say others have not, I mention this because I found JPL's very detailed Telecommunications and Data Aquisition Systems Support for the Viking 1975 Mission to Mars. Appendices C and D contain a log of all direct contact with the Viking landers. Most Mars landers these days prefer to relay through a growing ...


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Along with terrestrial operations by various radio telescopes the various agencies with Mars orbiters co-operate to capture data during landings including ESA Mars Express supporting MSL and Phoenix. There is a shared protocol/hardware system for communicating between craft on and around Mars which allows agencies to share available bandwidth for earth ...


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