Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Mariner 6 and 7
As part of the wider Mariner program, in 1969 Mariner 6 and Mariner 7 completed the first dual mission to Mars, flying by over the equator and south polar regions and analysing atmosphere and surface with remote sensors as well as recording and relaying hundreds of pictures. By chance, both flew over cratered regions and missed both the giant northern volcanoes and the equatorial grand canyon discovered later. Their approach pictures did, however, photograph about 20% of the planet's surface, and show the dark features long seen from Earth, but no canals. In total 198 photos were taken and transmitted back to earth, adding more detail than an earlier mission, Mariner 4, and both crafts also had instruments to study the atmosphere of Mars.
The engineering model of Mariners 6 and 7 still exists, and is owned by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It is currently on loan to the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, and is on display in the lab's lobby.
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