First Image from Mariner 4
Date: 15 Jul 1965
A "real-time data translator" machine converted a Mariner 4 digital image data into numbers printed on strips of paper. Too anxious to wait for the official processed image, employees from the Telecommunications Section at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), attached these strips side by side to a display panel and hand colored the numbers (similar to a paint-by-numbers picture). The completed image was framed and presented to, then JPL director, William H. Pickering.
Mariner 4 was launched on 28 November 1964 and journeyed for 228 days to the Red Planet, providing the first close-range images of Mars. The spacecraft carried a television camera and six other science instruments to study the Martian atmosphere and surface. The 22 photographs taken revealed the existence of lunar type craters upon a desert-like surface. After completing its mission, Mariner 4 continued past Mars to the far side of the sun. On 20 December 1967, all operations of the spacecraft were ended.
Credit: Jet Propulsion Laboratory