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Mariner 8
Missions to Mars
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Mariner 08
Mariner 8 Mission to Mars

Goals: This was the first of two spacecraft in the Mariner Mars 71 project intended to orbit Mars for at least 90 days, gathering data on the Martian atmosphere and about 70 percent of the planet's surface.

Accomplishments: None. The launch vehicle malfunctioned. It carried its payload back into Earth's atmosphere and splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean about 560 km north of Puerto Rico.

Key Dates
9 May 1971:  Launch (01:11:01 UT)
9 May 1971:  Re-entered Earth's Atmosphere (01:16 UT)
Status: Unsuccessful
Fast Facts
Mariner 08 Facts This was the first of two U.S. spacecraft intended to explore Mars in 1971.

The spacecraft began to tumble several minutes after launch, causing it to fall back to Earth and crash in the ocean.

Its sister mission -- Mariner 9 -- became the first spacecraft to orbit Mars in November 1971.
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Last Updated: 30 Nov 2010