Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Mariner 2 being prepared for launch

Mariner 2 being prepared for launch
Mariner 2 being prepared for launch The Mariner 2 spacecraft is shown in an assembly facility at the Atlantic Missile Range (AMR), Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spacecraft was designed and built by JPL, then shipped to AMR, where the antenna and solar panels were assembled prior to testing and launch in August 1962. NASA / JPL

Mariner 2 flew by Venus on December 14, 1962 -- the first spacecraft to reach another planet and send data back to Earth. Because clouds obscure the surface of Venus, there was no camera aboard. There were, however, several instruments that observed the planet as Mariner 2 passed by. They included a Microwave Radiometer, Infrared Radiometer, Magnetometer, Ionization Chamber, Particle Flux Detector, Cosmic Dust Detector, and Solar Plasma Analyzer. The Mariner-Venus 1962 Final Project report, which is available in the JPL Archives, contains detailed information about the experiment results (HC 8-92).

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