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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mariner 4 Spacecraft of Mars


                Mariner 4 was an American’s first successful spacecraft (Flyby) to reach Mars on 15th July 1965. It retains fourth number in the series of Mariner. It was designed for the interplanetary planet exploration. Mariner 4 was primarily intended for scientific observation of Mars during its close flybys and to transmit information back to Earth. This spacecraft became the first to return images from the deep space ever. Finally its communication was terminated on 21st December 1967.


                Mariner 4 was launched on 28 November 1964, carried by Atlas LV-3 Agena-D rocket from Cape Canaveral Air force station at 14:22:01 UTC. This spacecraft was manufactured by Jet Propulsion Laboratory/JPL  of California. After its launch it was fully controlled and operated by NASA. It remained active for 3 years and 23 days of flyby around the Red planet (Mars). After its first image, it changed the view of scientific community to explore life on Mars.


  1. Cosmic dust detector                                    
  2. Cosmic ray telescope
  3. Geiger Counter / Ionization Chamber
  4. Helium Magnetometer
  5. Solar plasma probe
  6. Trapped Radiation Detector
  7. Television Camera


                Mariner 4 communicated to Earth by its High-gain parabolic antenna for long distance communication after reaching Mars and a omnidirectional low-gain antenna for short distance communication during its travel after the crossing Low Earth orbit (LEO)


Helium Magnetometer                    To measure the magnitude and other interplanetary magnetic fields

Ionzation Chamber                          To measure the charged particle intensity around Mars

Trapped  Radiation detector        To measure intensity and direction of low-energy particles

Cosmic ray telescope                     To measure direction and energy spectrum of proton and alpha particles

Solar Plasma Probe                         To measure very low energy particles from Sun

Cosmic dust detector                     To measure momentum, distribution, density and direction of cosmic dust

Television camera                            To capture images of Mars


  1. Solar panels of Mariner 4 could provide 310 watts at the distance of Mars
  2. It had a rechargeable 1200 w-h Silver-zinc battery for Power
  3. Monopropellant Hydrazine was used for propulsion ( 222-Newton Motor 50lbf )
  4. The attitude control was performed by 12-Cold nitrogen gas jets
  5. It was tracked and navigated by the four sun sensors and the star Canopus
  6. Data recorded in a magnetic tape recorder of 5.24 million bits
  7. Precision tracking was done based on Celestial Mechanics


  1. Total data returned my Mariner 4 was around 634 Kb
  2. Images showed Moon like creator on Mars
  3. Atmospheric pressure of   410 to 740 pascals was found
  4.  Daytime temperature of -373 Kelvin was found
  5. No Magnetic field and radiation belts were detected
  6.  Its photographs helped for Mars Geologic History


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