Mariner 4 — Mars Flyby
NASA Created — July 29, 1958
NASA's First — The Mercury Seven
Viking 1 — The First Mars Landing
Gemini IV — The First American Spacewalk
1969 Apollo 11 Moon Landing, The First Man on the Moon
Apollo 12 — November 1969
Locating Planet-X (Pluto)
Challenger 1984 — The First Untethered Space Walk
First Images of the Red Planet
In 1964, while so much of the energy and talk was focused on landing an American on the Moon and returning them safely home, NASA was also doing some other amazing things...
Not the least of these was a the development of a spacecraft designed for planetary exploration. The fourth such craft — Mariner 4 — launched in November of 1964; and in 1965 it was the first spacecraft to successfully send closeup images of Mars back to Earth. In fact, they are the first closeup images of any planet ever returned from deep space.
Each year, on July 14 and 15, we can celebrate the Mariner 4 Mars Flyby.
Real Martian Activity?
As far as we know, there's no life on Mars. But...
One of the impacts that the Mariner 4 Mars Flyby mission had was to entirely change the scientific community's perspective of life on Mars — both in the present and possibly the future.
Mars was long thought of as a dusty, dead planet with no possibility of being habitable. The photographs and atmospheric data collected and returned by Mariner 4 changed this thinking, and the debate about whether people and plants and animals could live on Mars continues.
What's Next in Mars Exploration?
The Mariner missions opened paths to further explore Mars — up to, including, and beyond the most recent Rover missions. Here's a captivating 3 minute video from NASA detailing the Perseverance Rover's landing on the surface of Mars.
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