Mariner 9 (nonfiction)
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.
After depleting its supply of attitude control gas, the spacecraft was turned off on October 27, 1972.
Mariner 9 remains a derelict satellite in Mars orbit. It is expected to remain in orbit until approximately 2022, when the spacecraft is projected to enter the Martian atmosphere and either burn up or crash into the planet's surface.
In the News
- Mariiner 9 @ Wikipedia