Image of Mariner 4
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NASA/JPL

Mariner

The 10 Mariner missions of the 1960's and early 70's were all flybys designed to visit nearby planets in our solar system. Seven were successful, reaching Venus, Mars, and Mercury.

Mariner 2 was the first interplanetary spacecraft, successfully travelling to Venus in 1962 and discovering its fire-hot surface temperature. The fifth Mariner mission visited Venus five years later, and performed atmospheric experiments.

Our first close-up glimpse of planet Mars was from Mariner 4 in 1965, and revealed a terrain covered with craters. Mariners 6, 7, and 9 also reached the red planet, returning information on its surface and atmospheric composition. The ninth mission, in particular, mapped 100% of the Martian surface and photographed its two moons.

Mariner 10 was the last in the Mariner sequence, and visited both Venus and Mercury.

Some of the data returned from these spacecraft are shown in the image archive below.

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