14.07.

1965: Space Probe Captured the First Close Up Images of Another Planet

1965: Space Probe Captured the First Close Up Images of Another Planet
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/Jack N. James (center), JPL's Mariner 4 Project Manager, with a group in the White House presenting the spacecraft's famous picture Number 11 of Mars to US President Lyndon B. Johnson (center right) in July 1965

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 14 July 1965
  • Photos of the Martian surface taken by Mariner 4 showed that it was a rather cratered planet. The spacecraft took about seven and a half months to reach Mars.

On this day in 1965 the Mariner 4 space probe made the first flyby of the planet Mars and took close up photographs of the planet that were then sent to Earth.

It was the first time in history that a human probe captured images of another planet.

Mariner 4 was launched back in November of the previous (1964) year. The spacecraft took about seven and a half months to reach Mars.

The photos were taken at the time Mariner 4 flew by Mars at a distance of about 10,000 kilometers. The closest approach was only 9,846 km from the surface of the planet.

21 photographs, and a part of the 22nd photo, were taken. These recordings were firstly stored on the probe on-board tape recorder and then transmitted to Earth twice to ensure no data was missing or corrupt.

It was a digital transmission, which contained approximately 634 MB of data.

Photos of the Martian surface have shown that it is a planet rather drilled with craters. To some, these photos reduced their hope in the existence of any intelligent life on Mars.

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