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The half-ton space camera flew past Mars eight months after being shot from Earth on an Atlas rocket, having traveled 325 million miles. It flew within 6,000 miles of the planet’s surface, snapping 22 digital photographs before continuing into space. They were the first close-ups ever taken of another planet, and it was only appropriate that the subject was Mars, a source of fascination since the beginning of recorded history.
There were, alas, none of the canals seen by astronomers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, nor evidence of senders of messages heard by Nikola Tesla or Gugliemo Marconi. Indeed, the hazy images of a barren, crater-strewn landscape ended speculation that Mars might plausibly be inhabited by higher life forms. But those low-resolution — 0.04 megapixel — images stirred the soul in different ways, and they paved the way for future photo shoots that would reveal a planet every bit as fantastic as imagined.
After leaving Mars, Mariner 4 journeyed to the far side of the sun, and finally returned to Earth’s vicinity in 1967. Long after it was expected to break down, the satellite continued to send information about cosmic dust, celestial dynamics and solar plasma. After being put through a series of operations tests, Mariner 4 was shut down Dec. 20, 1967.
Originally posted by icepack
i wonder what quality the pictures were, if you tuned hubble in on mars.
what resolutions you get from this kind of distance.