Mariner program

The Mariner program was a 10-mission program conducted by the American space agency NASA in conjunction with Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).[1] The program launched a series of robotic interplanetary probes, from 1962 to 1973, designed to investigate Mars, Venus and Mercury.[2] The program included a number of firsts, including the first planetary flyby, the first planetary orbiter, and the first gravity assist maneuver.

Of the ten vehicles in the Mariner series, seven were successful, forming the starting point for many subsequent NASA/JPL space probe programs. The planned Mariner Jupiter-Saturn vehicles were adapted into the Voyager program,[3] while the Viking program orbiters were enlarged versions of the Mariner 9 spacecraft. Later Mariner-based spacecraft include the Magellan probe and the Galileo probe, while the second-generation Mariner Mark II series evolved into the Cassini–Huygens probe.

The total cost of the Mariner program was approximately $554 million.[4]

The name of the Mariner program was decided in "May 1960-at the suggestion of Edgar M. Cortright" to have the "planetary mission probes ... patterned after nautical terms, to convey "the impression of travel to great distances and remote lands."" That "decision was the basis for naming Mariner, Ranger, Surveyor, and Viking probes."[5]

Atlas Agena with Mariner 1
Launch of Mariner 1 in 1962

Basic layout

Kennedy Receives Mariner 2 Model
This 1963 photo shows Dr. William H. Pickering, (center) JPL Director, presenting a Mariner 2 spacecraft model to President John F. Kennedy, (right). NASA Administrator James Webb is standing directly behind the Mariner model

All Mariner spacecraft were based on a hexagonal or octagonal "bus", which housed all of the electronics, and to which all components were attached, such as antennae, cameras, propulsion, and power sources.[2][6] Mariner 2 was based on the Ranger Lunar probe. All of the Mariners launched after Mariner 2 had four solar panels for power, except for Mariner 10, which had two. Additionally, all except Mariner 1, Mariner 2 and Mariner 5 had TV cameras.

The first five Mariners were launched on Atlas-Agena rockets, while the last five used the Atlas-Centaur. All Mariner-based probes after Mariner 10 used the Titan IIIE, Titan IV unmanned rockets or the Space Shuttle with a solid-fueled Inertial Upper Stage and multiple planetary flybys.


Mariners 1 and 2

Mariner 2

Mariner 1 (P-37) and Mariner 2 (P-38) were two deep-space probes making up NASA's Mariner-R project. The primary goal of the project was to develop and launch two spacecraft sequentially to the near vicinity of Venus, receive communications from the spacecraft and to perform radiometric temperature measurements of the planet. A secondary objective was to make interplanetary magnetic field and/or particle measurements on the way to, and in the vicinity of, Venus.[7][8] Mariner 1 (designated Mariner R-1) was launched on July 22, 1962, but was destroyed approximately 5 minutes after liftoff by the Air Force Range Safety Officer when its malfunctioning Atlas-Agena rocket went off course. Mariner 2 (designated Mariner R-2) was launched on August 27, 1962, sending it on a 3½-month flight to Venus. The mission was a success, and Mariner 2 became the first spacecraft to have flown by another planet.


  • Mariner 1 – Destroyed shortly after liftoff.
  • Mariner 2 – Defunct after successful mission, occupies a heliocentric orbit.

Mariners 3 and 4

Mariner 3 and 4

Sisterships Mariner 3 and Mariner 4 were Mars flyby missions.[9]

Mariner 3 was lost when the launch vehicle's nose fairing failed to jettison.

Mariner 4, launched on November 28, 1964, was the first successful flyby of the planet Mars and gave the first glimpse of Mars at close range.[9]


Mariner 5

Mariner 5

The Mariner 5 spacecraft was launched to Venus on June 14, 1967 and arrived in the vicinity of the planet in October 1967. It carried a complement of experiments to probe Venus' atmosphere with radio waves, scan its brightness in ultraviolet light, and sample the solar particles and magnetic field fluctuations above the planet.

  • Mission: Venus flyby
  • Mass: 245 kg (540 lb)
  • Sensors: ultraviolet photometer, cosmic dust, solar plasma, trapped radiation, cosmic rays, magnetic fields, radio occultation and celestial mechanics

Status: Mariner 5 – Defunct. Now in Heliocentric orbit.

Mariners 6 and 7

Mariner 6and7

Mariners 6 and 7 were identical teammates in a two-spacecraft mission to Mars. Mariner 6 was launched on February 24, 1969, followed by Mariner 7 on March 21, 1969. They flew over the equator and southern hemisphere of the planet Mars.[11]

  • Mission: Mars flybys
  • Mass 413 kg (908 lb)
  • Sensors: wide- and narrow-angle cameras with digital tape recorder, infrared spectrometer and radiometer, ultraviolet spectrometer, radio occultation and celestial mechanics.


Mariners 8 and 9


Mariner 8 and Mariner 9 were identical sister craft designed to map the Martian surface simultaneously, but Mariner 8 was lost in a launch vehicle failure. Its identical sister craft, Mariner 9, was launched in May 1971 and became the first artificial satellite of Mars. It entered Martian orbit in November 1971 and began photographing the surface and analyzing the atmosphere with its infrared and ultraviolet instruments.

  • Mission: orbit Mars
  • Mass 998 kg (2,200 lb)
  • Sensors: wide- and narrow-angle cameras with digital tape recorder, infrared spectrometer and radiometer, ultraviolet spectrometer, radio occultation and celestial mechanics


  • Mariner 8 – Destroyed in a launch vehicle failure.
  • Mariner 9 – Shut off. In Areocentric (Mars) orbit until at least 2022 when it is projected to fall out of orbit and into the Martian atmosphere.[12]

Mariner 10

Mariner 10

The Mariner 10 spacecraft launched on November 3, 1973 and was the first to use a gravity assist trajectory, accelerating as it entered the gravitational influence of Venus, then being flung by the planet's gravity onto a slightly different course to reach Mercury. It was also the first spacecraft to encounter two planets at close range, and for 33 years the only spacecraft to photograph Mercury in closeup.

  • Mission: plasma, charged particles, magnetic fields, radio occultation and celestial mechanics

Status: Mariner 10 – Defunct. Now in a Heliocentric orbit.

Mariner Jupiter-Saturn

Mariner Jupiter-Saturn was approved in 1972 after the cancellation of the Grand Tour program, which proposed visiting all the outer planets with multiple spacecraft. The Mariner Jupiter-Saturn program proposed two Mariner-derived probes that would perform a scaled back mission involving flybys of only the two gas giants, though designers at JPL built the craft with the intention that further encounters past Saturn would be an option. Trajectories were chosen to allow one probe to visit Jupiter and Saturn first, and perform a flyby of Saturn's moon Titan to gather information about the moon's substantial atmosphere. The other probe would arrive at Jupiter and Saturn later, and its trajectory would enable it to continue on to Uranus and Neptune assuming the first probe accomplished all its objectives, or be redirected to perform a Titan flyby if necessary. The program's name was changed to Voyager just before launch in 1977, and after Voyager 1 successfully completed its Titan encounter, Voyager 2 went on to visit the two ice giants.[3]

See also


  1. ^ "Mariner-Venus 1962 Final Project Report" (PDF). NASA Technical Reports Server. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Mariner Program". JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Chapter 11 "Voyager: The Grand Tour of Big Science" (sec. 268.), by Andrew,J. Butrica, found in From Engineering Science To Big Science ISBN 978-0-16-049640-0 edited by Pamela E. Mack, NASA, 1998
  4. ^ Mariner 4, NSSDC Master Catalog
  5. ^ SP-4402 Origins of NASA Names
  6. ^ "Untitled" (PDF). NASA Technical Reports Server. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  7. ^ "Tracking Information Memorandom: Mariner R 1 and 2" (PDF). NASA Technical Reports Server. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  8. ^ "Mariner R Spacecraft for Missions P-37/P-38" (PDF). NASA Technical Reports Server. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d Pyle, Rod (2012). Destination Mars. Prometheus Books. p. 51. ISBN 978-1-61614-589-7. Mariner 3, dead and still ensnared in its faulty launch shroud, in a large orbit around the sun.
  10. ^ a b Pyle, Rod (2012). Destination Mars. Prometheus Books. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-61614-589-7. It eventually joined its sibling, Mariner 3, dead ... in a large orbit around the sun.
  11. ^ a b c Pyle, Rod (2012). Destination Mars. Prometheus Books. pp. 61–66. ISBN 978-1-61614-589-7.
  12. ^ NASA - This Month in NASA History: Mariner 9 Archived May 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, November 29, 2011 — Vol. 4, Issue 9
1971 in science

The year 1971 in science and technology involved some significant events, listed below.

Addams (crater)

Addams is a crater on Venus. It was named after Jane Addams.

Hypothetical moon of Mercury

Mercury's moon would be an undiscovered natural satellite orbiting the planet Mercury. One was briefly thought to exist in the early 1970s, but it turned out to be misinterpreted data from a star. Observation of a moon of Mercury from Earth would be difficult because Mercury is relatively close to the Sun. For example, Mercury was not observed in the infrared spectrum until 1995. NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft, which orbited Mercury from 2011 to 2015, did not detect any moon.

Jack James

Jack James may refer to:

Jack James (Australian footballer) (1892–1977), Australian rules footballer for St Kilda and Richmond in the Victorian Football League

Jack James (footballer, born 2000), defender for Luton Town

Jack James (fencer) (1906–1964), competed for Britain in the team foil event at the 1928 Summer Olympics

Jack James (rocket engineer) (1920–2001), worked on NASA's Mariner program

Jack James (rocket engineer)

Jack N. James (November 22, 1920 – August 7, 2001) was a US rocket engineer who worked for over 35 years at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA. His work as a Project Manager for NASA's Mariner program in the 1960s included the first planetary flyby (of Venus) and first photographs by a space probe of Mars. He received commendations for his work from several US Presidents, and his awards include the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (1965) and the Stuart Ballantine Medal (1967).

Jaszai Patera

Jaszai Patera is a 40 km (25 mi) to 30 km (19 mi) wide volcanic caldera on Venus containing steep sided lava domes.

List of films set on Mars

There is a body of films that are set on the planet Mars. In the late 19th century, people erroneously believed that there were canals on Mars. Into the early 20th century, additional observations of Mars fed people's interest in what was called "Mars fever". One of the earliest films to be set on Mars was the short film A Trip to Mars (1910), which was produced by one of Thomas Edison's film companies. In the 1920s through the 1960s, more films featured Mars or extraterrestrial Martians. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Mariner program and the Viking program revealed new scientific details about Mars that showed little prospect for life. The Guardian said, "These disappointing discoveries changed the place of Mars on humanity's mental map. Films began to reflect this." Films such as Total Recall (1990) and Red Planet (2000) focused more on the colonization of Mars by humans.The Guardian, reporting on the release of John Carter (2012), said, since 1995, six films featuring Mars performed poorly at the box office. Wired, reporting on the release of The Martian (2015), said prior films set on Mars—Red Planet, Mission to Mars (2000), and The Last Days on Mars (2013)—were "notable flops" that were the most recent in a "dismal track record of Mars movies". The Atlantic called The Martian "the subgenre's newest and best entry", citing the positive reviews and strong box office returns on opening weekend. It said, "Many films seek to dramatize the Red Planet’s harsh landscape as a romantic frontier, but The Martian is one that actually succeeds."

Mariner (disambiguation)

Mariner is a term for a sailor.

Mariner may also refer to:

Mariner (surname), people with surname Mariner

PBM Mariner, a flying boat

Mariner Aircraft Mariner, a flying boat

Mariner program, a NASA space program

Tc1/mariner, a family of genetic transposable elements

Mariner, a naval variant of the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper

A brand of outboard motors marketed by Mercury Marine

Mercury Mariner, a compact Sport Utility Vehicle

Mariner (layout engine), a project of improvements for the layout engine of the Netscape Communicator web browser

Mariner High School (disambiguation), high schools in the United States

Mariner oilfield in the North Sea off Scotland

Mossberg Mariner, shotgun made by O.F. Mossberg & Sons

A player of the Mohun Bagan football club of Kolkata, India

The Mariner, an English language newspaper based in Toulouse, France

Mariner (album), a 2016 collaborative release between Swedish band Cult of Luna and American singer Julie Christmas

Mariner (crater), an impact crater on MarsThe Mariners can refer to:

Seattle Mariners, an American Major League Baseball team

Central Coast Mariners FC, an Australian association football team

Grimsby Town F.C., an English football team

The Mariners (vocal group), integrated quartet of the 1940s and 1950s associated with Arthur Godfrey

San Diego Mariners, an American World Hockey Association team

Virginia Beach Mariners, an American United Soccer Leagues team

Yarmouth Mariners, a Canadian Maritime Junior A Hockey League team

Baltimore Mariners, an American indoor football team

Gijón Mariners, a Spanish american football team

Hunter Mariners, a former Australian rugby league football team which participated in the short-lived Super League

Greenwich Mariners, a British collegiate american football team

Mariner 1

Mariner 1 was the first spacecraft of the American Mariner program, designed for a planetary flyby of Venus. It cost $18.5 million in 1962. It was launched aboard an Atlas-Agena rocket on July 22, 1962. Shortly after takeoff the rocket responded improperly to commands from the guidance systems on the ground, setting the stage for an apparent software-related guidance system failure. With the craft effectively uncontrolled, a range safety officer ordered its destructive abort 294.5 seconds after launch.According to NASA's current account for the public:

The booster had performed satisfactorily until an unscheduled yaw-lift (northeast) maneuver was detected by the range safety officer. Faulty application of the guidance commands made steering impossible and were directing the spacecraft towards a crash, possibly in the North Atlantic shipping lanes or in an inhabited area. The destruct command was sent 6 seconds before separation, after which the launch vehicle could not have been destroyed. The radio transponder continued to transmit signals for 64 seconds after the destruct command had been sent.The role of software error in the launch failure remains somewhat mysterious in nature, shrouded in the ambiguities and conflicts among (and in some accounts, even within) the various accounts, official and otherwise. The probe's mission was accomplished by Mariner 2 which launched 5 weeks later.

Mariner 10

Mariner 10 was an American robotic space probe launched by NASA on November 3, 1973, to fly by the planets Mercury and Venus.

Mariner 10 was launched approximately two years after Mariner 9 and was the last spacecraft in the Mariner program. (Mariner 11 and 12 were allocated to the Voyager program and redesignated Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.)

The mission objectives were to measure Mercury's environment, atmosphere, surface, and body characteristics and to make similar investigations of Venus. Secondary objectives were to perform experiments in the interplanetary medium and to obtain experience with a dual-planet gravity assist mission. Mariner 10's science team was led by Bruce C. Murray at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Mariner 2

Mariner 2 (Mariner-Venus 1962), an American space probe to Venus, was the first robotic space probe to conduct a successful planetary encounter. The first successful spacecraft in the NASA Mariner program, it was a simplified version of the Block I spacecraft of the Ranger program and an exact copy of Mariner 1. The missions of Mariner 1 and 2 spacecraft are together sometimes known as the Mariner R missions. Original plans called for the probes to be launched on the Atlas-Centaur, but serious developmental problems with that vehicle forced a switch to the much smaller Agena B stage. As such, the design of the Mariner R vehicles was greatly simplified. Far less instrumentation was carried than on the Soviet Venera probes of this period, including no TV camera as the Atlas-Agena B had only half as much lift capacity as the Soviet 8K78 booster. The Mariner 2 spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral on August 27, 1962 and passed as close as 34,773 kilometers (21,607 mi) to Venus on December 14, 1962.The Mariner probe consisted of a 100 cm (39.4 in) diameter hexagonal bus, to which solar panels, instrument booms, and antennas were attached. The scientific instruments on board the Mariner spacecraft were two radiometers (one each for the microwave and infrared portions of the spectrum), a micrometeorite sensor, a solar plasma sensor, a charged particle sensor, and a magnetometer. These instruments were designed to measure the temperature distribution on the surface of Venus, as well as making basic measurements of Venus' atmosphere.

The primary mission was to receive communications from the spacecraft in the vicinity of Venus and to perform radiometric temperature measurements of the planet. A second objective was to measure the interplanetary magnetic field and charged particle environment.En route to Venus, Mariner 2 measured the solar wind, a constant stream of charged particles flowing outwards from the Sun, confirming the measurements by Luna 1 in 1959. It also measured interplanetary dust, which turned out to be scarcer than predicted. In addition, Mariner 2 detected high-energy charged particles coming from the Sun, including several brief solar flares, as well as cosmic rays from outside the Solar System. As it flew by Venus on December 14, 1962, Mariner 2 scanned the planet with its pair of radiometers, revealing that Venus has cool clouds and an extremely hot surface.

Mariner 3

Mariner 3 (together with Mariner 4 known as Mariner-Mars 1964) was one of two identical deep-space probes designed and built by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA's Mariner-Mars 1964 project that were intended to conduct close-up (flyby) scientific observations of the planet Mars and transmit information on interplanetary space and the space surrounding Mars, televised images of the Martian surface and radio occultation data of spacecraft signals as affected by the Martian atmosphere back to Earth. It was the third of ten spacecraft within the Mariner program.

Mariner 2 had been a modified Ranger lunar probe, however Mariner 3 used a new, larger bus with four solar panels, a TV camera, and additional instrumentation. Because of the greater mass, the new Agena D stage would be used instead of the Agena B. Mariner 3 also utilized a new, larger fiberglass payload fairing. Of the two Atlas-Agena pads at Cape Canaveral, LC-13 became available first following the launch of an Air Force Vela satellite in July 1964. Atlas vehicle 289D was erected on the pad on August 17, with the backup Mariner probe and booster (Atlas 288D) erected on LC-12 on September 28.

Mariner 3 was launched at 2:22 PM EST on November 5, 1964 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 13. After an uneventful boost phase, the Agena completed its burn to place the probe on a trajectory towards Mars. One hour after launch, the first telemetry transmissions from Mariner 3 were received, indicating that the scientific instruments were functioning correctly but there was no indication of any solar panel operation. Unsure of the exact problem, ground controllers issued a command to turn off the rate gyros to conserve power while they worked to figure out what had happened. Telemetry data suggested a separation failure of either the Agena or the payload fairing, however a below-normal velocity appeared to indicate that the fairing had not separated properly. A command was sent to manually jettison the payload shroud, but nothing happened. The ground controllers next considered firing Mariner 3's midcourse correction engine to blow off the shroud, however they ran out of time. Eight hours after launch, the batteries in the probe died and the mission was officially terminated. Even if the shroud could be removed, the mission probably would have failed anyway since the low velocity meant that Mariner 3 would miss Mars by several million miles.Three weeks later, on November 28, 1964, Mariner 4 was launched successfully on a 7½-month voyage to Mars.

Mariner 4

Mariner 4 (together with Mariner 3 known as Mariner–Mars 1964) was the fourth in a series of spacecraft intended for planetary exploration in a flyby mode. It was designed to conduct closeup scientific observations of Mars and to transmit these observations to Earth. Launched on November 28, 1964, Mariner 4 performed the first successful flyby of the planet Mars, returning the first close-up pictures of the Martian surface. It captured the first images of another planet ever returned from deep space; their depiction of a cratered, seemingly dead world, largely changed the scientific community's view of life on Mars. Other mission objectives were to perform field and particle measurements in interplanetary space in the vicinity of Mars and to provide experience in and knowledge of the engineering capabilities for interplanetary flights of long duration. On December 21, 1967 communications with Mariner 4 were terminated.

Mariner 5

Mariner 5 (Mariner Venus 1967) was a spacecraft of the Mariner program that carried a complement of experiments to probe Venus' atmosphere by radio occultation, measure the hydrogen Lyman-alpha (hard ultraviolet) spectrum, and sample the solar particles and magnetic field fluctuations above the planet. Its goals were to measure interplanetary and Venusian magnetic fields, charged particles, plasma, radio refractivity and UV emissions of the Venusian atmosphere.

Mariner 5 was actually built as a backup to Mariner 4, but after the success of the Mariner 4 mission, it was modified for the Venus mission by removing the TV camera, reversing and reducing the four solar panels, and adding extra thermal insulation.

Liftoff took place on June 14, 1967 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 12 on Atlas vehicle 5401. Booster performance was normal through the Atlas portion of the launch and the first Agena burn, with all systems operating at the proper level. During the second Agena burn, abnormal fluctuations in the engine chamber pressure occurred, however they did not preclude successful interplanetary injection. There had been several occurrences of this behavior on previous NASA and Air Force launches and a program was initiated to correct it which led to a redesign of the Agena turbopump gearbox. Mariner 5 flew by Venus on October 19 that year at an altitude of 3,990 kilometers (2,480 mi). With more sensitive instruments than its predecessor Mariner 2, Mariner 5 was able to shed new light on the hot, cloud-covered planet and on conditions in interplanetary space.

Radio occultation data from Mariner 5 helped to understand the temperature and pressure data returned by the Venera 4 lander, which arrived at Venus shortly before it. After these missions, it was clear that Venus had a very hot surface and an atmosphere even denser than expected.

The operations of Mariner 5 ended in November 1967 and it is now defunct in a heliocentric orbit.

Mariner 6 and 7

As part of NASA's wider Mariner program, Mariner 6 and Mariner 7 (Mariner Mars 69A and Mariner Mars 69B) completed the first dual mission to Mars in 1969. Mariner 6 was launched from Launch Complex 36B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Mariner 7 from Launch Complex 36A at Cape Kennedy. The craft flew over the equator and south polar regions, analyzing the atmosphere and the surface with remote sensors, and recording and relaying hundreds of pictures. The mission's goals were to study the surface and atmosphere of Mars during close flybys, in order to establish the basis for future investigations, particularly those relevant to the search for extraterrestrial life, and to demonstrate and develop technologies required for future Mars missions. Mariner 6 also had the objective of providing experience and data which would be useful in programming the Mariner 7 encounter five days later.

Mariner 8

Mariner-H (Mariner Mars '71), also commonly known as Mariner 8, was (along with Mariner 9) part of the Mariner Mars '71 project. It was intended to go into Mars orbit and return images and data, but a launch vehicle failure prevented Mariner 8 from achieving Earth orbit and the spacecraft reentered into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after launch.

Mariner 9

Mariner 9 (Mariner Mars '71 / Mariner-I) was an unmanned NASA space probe that contributed greatly to the exploration of Mars and was part of the Mariner program. Mariner 9 was launched toward Mars on May 30, 1971 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and reached the planet on November 14 of the same year, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit another planet – only narrowly beating the Soviets' Mars 2 and Mars 3, which both arrived within a month. After months of dust storms it managed to send back clear pictures of the surface.

Mariner 9 returned 7329 images over the course of its mission, which concluded in October 1972.

Mariner Mark II

Mariner Mark II was NASA's planned family of unmanned spacecraft for the exploration of the outer Solar System that were to be developed and operated by JPL between 1990 through the year 2010.

Robert J. Parks

Robert J. "Bob" Parks (April 1, 1922 – June 3, 2011) was a US aerospace engineer and manager who worked for 40 years at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, California, USA. His work as JPL's planetary program director included the Mariner program and Surveyor program in the 1960s, and the Voyager program of the 1970s and 1980s. Parks became Deputy Director of the JPL in 1984 and retired in 1987. Awards received for his work include the NASA Exceptional Service Medal (1967), the Stuart Ballantine Medal (1967), and the Goddard Astronautics Award (1980).

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