First Close-Up Pictures of Mars: 1965

Forty-five years ago today — Bastille Day 1965 — the Mariner-4 spacecraft took the first close-up photographs of Mars.

(First close-up image of Mars, from Mariner-4. NASA image.)

Mariner-4 had been launched from Cape Canaveral on November 28, 1964 (for which, see this space history installment).

From the National Space Science Data Center page linked above,

After 7.5 months of flight involving one midcourse maneuver on 5 December 1964, the spacecraft flew by Mars on July 14 and 15, 1965. Planetary science mode was turned on at 15:41:49 UT on 14 July. The camera sequence started at 00:18:36 UT on July 15 (7:18:49 p.m. EST on July 14) and 21 pictures plus 21 lines of a 22nd picture were taken [and] stored in the onboard tape recorder. At 02:19:11 UT Mariner 4 passed behind Mars as seen from Earth and the radio signal ceased. The signal was reacquired at 03:13:04 UT when the spacecraft reappeared. Cruise mode was then re-established. Transmission of the taped images to Earth began about 8.5 hours after signal reacquisition and continued until 3 August. All images were transmitted twice to insure no data was missing or corrupt.

(First image of craters on the surface of Mars, from Mariner-4. NASA image.)

More Mariner-4 images are available on this NASA page.

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.