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Mariner 4
Missions to Mars
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Mariner 04
Mariner 4 Mission to Mars

Goals: Like its predecessor Mariner 3, Mariner 4 was designed to snap a series of photos of Mars after an eight month journey studying interplanetary space. The spacecraft was also equipped to study the Martian atmosphere as it flew past.

Accomplishments: Mariner 4 was one of the great successes of the early American space program. The spacecraft sent back 21 black and white images of the Martian surface -- the first pictures taken of another planet from space. The spacecraft found that Mars was a battered, cold and barren world. Scientists learned they would need retro rockets in addition to parachutes to safely deliver a spacecraft through the planet's thin atmosphere to the surface. Mariner 4 also found Mars' weak radiation belt.

Key Dates
28 Nov 1964:  Launch (14:22:01 UT)
15 Jul 1965:  Closest Approach to Mars (9,846 km) (01:00:57 UT)
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
Mariner 04 Facts Mariner 4 was the first successful mission to Mars -- a difficult science target.

Mariner 4's 21 images were the first taken of another planet from space. At the time, only the Moon had been photographed in more detail.

Mariner 4 was reactivated in 1967 for attitude control tests to support the Mariner 5 mission to Venus.
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Last Updated: 30 Nov 2010