14 July 1965

Mariner 4 (JPL/NASA)

14 July 1965: At 0:00:57 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (01:00:57 UTC), 7 months, 14 days after its launch from the Kennedy Space Center, the space probe Mariner 4 made its closest approach to Mars. It came within 6,118 miles (9,846 kilometers) of the surface and took 21 full digital images and a portion of a 22nd. These images were stored on magnetic tape and later transmitted to Earth. 5.6 million bits of data were received.

Mariner 4 was a 260.68 kilogram (574.70 pounds) interplanetary spacecraft, controlled by radio signals from Earth. It was launched 28 November 1964 from Launch Complex 12 at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch vehicle was a three-stage liquid-fueled Atlas D/Agena rocket.

Mariner 4 continued to perform experiments and send signals back to Earth until 21 December 1967. At that time, it was 192,100,000 miles (309,154,982.4 kilometers) from home. Today, it remains in orbit around the sun.

Mariner 4 digital image of Mars surface, 14 July 1965. (NASA)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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2 thoughts on “14 July 1965

  1. 58 years later and all we have is better pictures of Mars. When will we land a person on it ? Or even have a robot collect items and return to Earth ?

    1. TDiA was listening to an Oxford astrophysicist, “Dr. Becky” (Rebecca Smethurst, Ph.D.) discuss this problem just last week. Her concern is that if humans are sent, it is virtually impossible to avoid contamination of the planet and place any signs of existing life on Mars in question. . . The time involved in the trip to and from the distant planet would be very difficult for a human crew. I have no doubt that eventually humans will go there, but in the mean time, what we have learned from interplanetary probes has been truly remarkable. . . TDiA is very disappointed that there are no canals. . . .

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