Space missions to Mars have 52.4% failure rate overall

On average, there's a 52.4 percent chance of failure for missions to Mars, according to an infographic using data collected since 1960.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

How do you define success?

The engineers and exacting folks at NASA certainly have definitions for that -- especially when it comes to the lives of their astronauts.

An infographic by the fantastic Bryan Christie Design tries to take a stab at data from that agency, the European Space Agency, Cornell University and RussianSpaceWeb.com to figure out just how successful humanity has been in reaching Mars on (unmanned) space missions.

According to data collected since 1960, failure has been historically more likely than success -- 52.4 percent of missions never made it. That's 22 failures versus 20 successes, across several nations' space efforts.

That's the bad news. The good news? The rate of success has skyrocketed since 1975 -- and is has been 68.4 percent since then. (That's 13 successes versus six failures.)

If there's anything to get a nation excited about manned missions to Mars, it's success. Right?

Check out the entire infographic here.

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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