Mars and its moons have been a target for many spacecraft, with flyby, orbiter, lander and rover missions visiting the planet. In addition, two spacecraft, Rosetta and Dawn, have made flybys to get gravity assists for other missions; the former en route to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, and the latter en route to asteroid 4 Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres. Three missions were dedicated to Phobos, but they did not achieve their targets
There is a number of derelict orbiters around Mars whose location is not known precisely;there is a proposal to search for small moons, dust rings, and old orbiters with the Optical Navigation Camera on Mars Recon. Orbiter. There should be 8 derelict Mars orbiters barring unforeseen events if they have not decayed as of 2016. One example is Mariner 9, which entered Mars orbit in 1971 and is expected to remain in orbit until approximately 2022, when the spacecraft is projected to enter the Martian atmosphere and either burn up or crash into the planet's surface. The Viking 1 orbiter is predicted not to decay until at least 2019. One orbiter that is confirmed to have undergone Mars atmospheric entry is Mars Climate Orbiter
(see also List of Mars orbiters)
Missions dedicated to explore the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos. Many missions to Mars have also included dedicated observations of the Moons, while this section is about missions focused solely on them. There have been three unsuccessful dedicated missions and many proposals. Because of the proximity of the Mars moons to Mars, any mission to them may also be considered a mission to Mars from some perspectives.
There have been at least three proposals in the United States Discovery Program, including PADME, PANDORA, and MERLIN. The ESA has also considered a sample return mission, one of the latest known as Martian Moon Sample Return or MMSR, and it may use heritage from an asteroid sample return mission.
In Japan, the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) is assessing a sample return mission to Phobos. This mission is called MMX (Martian Moons Explorer) and is proposed as a flagship Strategic Large Mission. If funded, MMX will build on the expertise the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) would gain through the Hayabusa 2 and SLIM missions. As of January 2016, MMX is under review by JAXA, and is proposed to be launched in 2022.
Three missions to land on Phobos have been launched; the Phobos program in the late 1980s saw the launch of Fobos 1 and Fobos 2, while the Fobos-Grunt sample return mission was launched in 2011. None of these missions were successful: Fobos 1 failed en route to Mars, Fobos 2 failed shortly before landing, and Fobos-Grunt never left low Earth orbit.
Missions sent to the Martian system have returned data on Phobos and Deimos and missions specifically dedicated to the moons are a subset of missions Mars that often include dedicated goals to acquire data about these moons. An example of this is the imaging campaigns by Mars Express of the Mars moons.
Osiris-Rex 2 was a proposal to make OR a double mission, with the other one collecting samples from the two Mars moons. In 2012, it was stated that this mission would be the both quickest and least expensive way to get samples from the Moons.
The 'Red Rocks Project', a part of Lockheed Martin's "Stepping stones to Mars" program, proposed to explore Mars robotically from Deimos.