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Quick Facts: Mariner 6 & 7

Mariner 6 & 7 Spacecraft

In total, Mariner 6 & 7 acquired 201 images of Mars; the near encounter images covering about 10% of the Martian surface. (Courtesy NASA/JPL)

Mission Introduction

Mariner 6 and 7 comprised a dual-spacecraft mission to Mars, the sixth and seventh missions in the Mariner series of spacecraft used for planetary exploration in the flyby mode. The primary objectives of the missions were to study the surface and atmosphere of Mars during close flybys 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 and other long-duration missions far from the Sun. Mariner 6 also had the objective of providing experience and data which would be useful in programming the Mariner 7 encounter 5 days later. Each spacecraft carried a wide- and narrow-angle television camera, an infrared spectroscope, an infrared radiometer, and an ultraviolet spectrometer. The spacecraft were oriented entirely to planetary data acquisition.

LASP Roles

LASP provided:

  • Ultraviolet Spectrometer
  • Ultraviolet Spectrometer Principal Investigator, Charles A Barth

LASP Instrument

Spectral measurements were made of the UV radiation emitted from the Martian atmosphere due to resonance scattering of solar radiation from the upper atmosphere, resonance reradiation, fluorescence, and photoelectron excitation of neutral and ionic constituents found in the lower part of the atmosphere. The following parameters were determined: the presence of certain atoms, ions and molecules in the upper and lower atmosphere, their respective scale heights, the degree of atmospheric Rayleigh scattering due to carbon dioxide, and surface reflectivity in the UV.

Quick Facts

Launch date: February 25, 1969 (Mariner 6); March 27, 1969 (Mariner 7)
Launch location: Cape Canaveral, Florida
Launch vehicle: Atlas-Centaur
Mission target: Mars flyby
Mission duration: 6 months
Other key dates:

  • Mars Flyby: July 31, 1969 (Mariner 6); August 5, 1969 (Mariner 7)

Other organizations involved:

  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)