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M-73 (no. 52S)
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Mars 4
Mars 4 Mission to Mars

Goals: Mars 4 was to orbit Mars (along with Mars 5), taking pictures and conducting remote-sensing experiments on the atmosphere and surface, and to serve as a communications relay for the Mars 6 and 7 landers.

Accomplishments: Faulty transistors disabled the spacecraft's ability to slow down and enter an orbit around Mars, so Mars 4 became a flyby mission. It transmitted the results of one imaging session and some radio occultation data which constituted the first detection of the nightside ionosphere on Mars. Following the flyby, Mars 4 returned data about the interplanetary environment.


Key Dates
21 Jul 1973:  Launch
10 Feb 1974:  Mars Flyby
Status: Unsuccessful
Fast Facts
Mars 4 Facts This was part of a planned Soviet fleet intended to preempt America's 1976 Viking missions.

A transistor failure prevented the planned orbit insertion. The spacecraft flew past Mars instead.

The spacecraft did transmit interplanetary data after the flyby.
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Last Updated: 30 Nov 2010