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Mariner 6
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Mariner 06
Mariner 6 Mission to Mars

Goals: Mariner 6 was designed to study the surface and atmosphere of Mars during a close flyby.

Accomplishments: The spacecraft transmitted 49 far- and 26 near-encounter images, showing heavily cratered and chaotic areas similar to parts of Earth's moon, and a southern polar region with an intriguingly irregular border. Spectrometry of the polar cap indicated solid carbon dioxide. Surface pressure was calculated to be equal to about 30.5 km above Earth's surface. Atmospheric composition was found to be about 98 percent carbon dioxide (at the time of Mariner 4's flyby, it was assumed to be mostly nitrogen). Nighttime surface temperature was recorded as -73°C at the equator, dropping to -125°C at the south pole.

Key Dates
25 Feb 1969:  Launch (01:29:02 UT)
31 Jul 1969:  Mars Flyby (05:19:07 UT)
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
Mariner 06 Facts First mission launched on the Atlas/Centaur launch vehicle.

Ten days before launch, the 12-story rocket began to crumple as it depressurized. Two ground crewmen earned NASA's Exceptional Bravery medals by risking their lives to start pressurizing pumps, preventing further collapse.

Mariner 6 was moved to another Atlas/Centaur and launched on schedule.
People Spotlight
Al Hibbs Al Hibbs
Al Hibbs decided as a five-year-old that he wanted to go to the Moon. He did qualify as an astronaut, but his legacy is in robotic exploration. Read More...
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Last Updated: 30 Nov 2010