Saturday, 14 November 2015

Astrognome Scrapbook Mariner 9 at Mars

Mariner 9

The first space craft to enter orbit around another planet Mariner 9 entered orbit around Mars on November 14th 1971. The first Mars mission Mariner 4 flew past the red planet in 1965 and disproved the idea of life on Mars. Mariners 6 and 7 flew by Mars in 1969 and sent back more photos. Mariner 5 was sent to study Venus, Mariner 8 failed to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.

Mariner 9 sent back the first really detailed images from the surface of Mars. Mariner 9 studied about 70% of the surface and sent back over 7,000 images, showing river beds, craters, massive extinct volcanoes including Olympus Mons, the largest known volcano in the Solar System. Mariner 9 images led directly to its reclassification from Nix Olympica, before Mariner 9 astronomers thought this was a mountain rather than a volcano.

Olympus Mons

Mars also has a grand canyon larger than the United States, it was named the Valles Marineris, in honour of Mariner 9 there was also evidence of wind and water erosion. Mars' small moons, Phobos and Deimos, were also photographed.

The mission was shut down in October 1972.

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