The scientific tourist #31 — Mariner 6 / 7 (engineering model)

This week’s picture is a scan of an old (circa 1989) slide — it’s a picture of the engineering model of the Mariner 6 and 7 spacecraft:

Mariner 6 & 7 (1969) mockup

In 1969, Mariner 6 and 7 completed the first dual-spacecraft reconnaissance of the planet Mars. Unfortunately, though, the technology of the time only allowed for a flyby mission — limiting the two spacecraft together to a total of 189 images of the red planet. Still, their photography covered about 20% of the planet — a substantial improvement at the time. As luck would have it, they both also flew over heavily cratered parts of the planet, so discovery of Mars’ volcanoes and water-shaped features would have to wait a few more years.

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