Mariner programme

Mariner 2

Mariner programme

NASA's Mariner programme sent unmanned probes to study planets in the inner Solar System.

In 1962 Mariner 2 became the first probe to fly past a planet (Venus).

In 1964 Mariner 4 flew by Mars and returned the first close-up images of the Red Planet.

Mariner 9 took detailed photographs of Mars from orbit in 1971.

Mariner 10 became the first spacecraft to visit Mercury after it was launched in 1973.

Photo: The Mariner 2 spacecraft (NASA/JPL)

Watch and listen to clips from past programmes TV clips [5]

Mariner 2

About Mariner programme

Unmanned probes explore the inner Solar System.

About Mariner programme

The Mariner program was a program conducted by the American space agency NASA in conjunction with Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) that launched a series of robotic interplanetary probes designed to investigate Mars, Venus and Mercury from 1962 to 1973. The program included a number of firsts, including the first planetary flyby, the first pictures from another planet, the first planetary orbiter, and the first gravity assist maneuver.

Of the ten vehicles in the Mariner series, seven were successful and three were lost. The planned Mariner 11 and Mariner 12 vehicles evolved into Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 of the Voyager program, while the Viking 1 and Viking 2 Mars orbiters were enlarged versions of the Mariner 9 spacecraft. Other Mariner-based spacecraft, launched since Voyager, included the Magellan probe to Venus, and the Galileo probe to Jupiter. A second-generation Mariner spacecraft, called the Mariner Mark II series, eventually evolved into the Cassini–Huygens probe, now in orbit around Saturn.

The total cost of the Mariner program was approximately $554 million.

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