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Mars 01
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Mars 01
Mars 1 Mission to Mars

Goals: Like its predecessor, Mars 1 was a stripped down spacecraft intended more as an engineering test than a scientific mission. The spacecraft was equipped with a camera to snap photos during a Mars flyby and a magnetometer to study interplanetary space.

Accomplishments: Mars 1 was the first spacecraft launched by any nation to fly past Mars. Unfortunately, a malfunction in the spacecraft's attitude control system made maneuvering the spacecraft impossible and controllers eventually lost contact with the spacecraft. The inert spacecraft flew past Mars a few months later at a distance of 197,000 km (122,400 miles). Before contact was lost, scientists collected useful data on cosmic rays, magnetic field, micrometeoroid impacts and ionized gases.


Key Dates
1 Nov 1962:  Launch (17:55:04 UT)
20 Jun 1963:  Contact Lost
Status: Partial Success
Fast Facts
Mars 01 Facts The spacecraft recorded one micrometeorite strike every two minutes due to the Taurids meteor shower (right).

It is believed an improperly closed valve caused the loss of the nitrogen used to control the spacecraft.

Controllers used a backup gyroscope system to position the spacecraft to gather solar power, but eventually contact was lost and the spacecraft entered orbit around the Sun.
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Last Updated: 30 Nov 2010