viking

Definition

Astronomy

  • (written as Viking)
    Pair of US space probes sent to Mars in 1975 and arriving in 1976. Viking 1 and 2 each consisted of a lander and an orbiter. The Vikings supplied tens of thousands of photographs of the Martian surface, from orbit and from ground level, as well as data on the composition of the polar caps and atmosphere of Mars. They are popularly remembered for a series of experiments designed to test for the presence of absence of life on Mars – which yielded no results encouraging to believers in Martians. The Vikings were a technological development of the US Mariner spacecraft sent to Mars, and there is a possibility of later Vikings which would rove the surface of Mars instead of remaining static there.

Origin & History of “viking”

there are two competing theories as to the origin of the word viking. If its ancestry is genuinely Scandinavian (and Old Norse víkingr is first recorded in the 10th century), then it was presumably based on Old Norse vík ‘inlet’, and it would denote etymologically ‘person who lives by the fjords’ – a logical enough notion. However, earlier traces of the word have been found in Old English and Old Frisian, from around the 8th century, which suggests the alternative theory that it may have been coined from Old English wīc ‘camp’ (ancestor of the -wick, -wich of English place-names). On this view, the term originated as a word used by the Anglo-Saxons for the Norse raiders, who made temporary camps while they attacked and plundered the local populace. It was introduced into modern English at the start of the 19th century as an antiquarian’s or historian’s term.
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