The USSR's Mars 2 made the first attempted landing on the Mars surface in 1971. It carried all the necessities: sensors to study the atmosphere, television cameras, and a pennant displaying the Soviet coat of arms (hammer and sickle all the way). A small rover was attached to the lander by a 50-foot umbilical cord, and was intended to navigate the surrounding terrain on a pair of skis.
But the rover never had a chance to test its slalom skills. The parachute didn't deploy during the lander's descent and Mars 2 crashed on the surface. In the USSR's next attempt, the Mars 3 made a successful soft landing but stopped broadcasting 20 seconds later.