Wednesday, 14 November 2012

On this Day: 14th November 1971 – Mariner 9 enters orbit around Mars

Mariner 9 is a NASA space orbiter that helped in the exploration of Mars and was part of the Mariner program. Mariner 9 was launched toward Mars on May 30, 1971 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and reached the planet on November 14 of the same year, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit another planet — only narrowly beating Soviet Mars 2 and Mars 3, which both arrived within a month. After months of dust-storms it managed to send back clear pictures of the surface.

Mariner 9 returned 7329 images over the course of its mission, which concluded in October 1972.

Mariner 9 remains a derelict satellite in Mars orbit. It is expected to remain in orbit until approximately 2022, when the spacecraft is projected to enter the Martian atmosphere and either burn up or crash to the planet's surface.

Photo Legacy: Making your memories last forever

Research courtesy of Wikipedia

Images courtesy of NASA on The Commons under The Commons agreement on Flickr


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