Mariner 10


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Mariner 10

A US spacecraft that executed the first dual-planet mission by making close approaches to Venus and, three times, to Mercury. Weighing 503 kg, it carried two television cameras that returned the first close-up views of Venus and Mercury. Other instruments included an infrared radiometer to measure Mercury's surface temperature; an ultraviolet spectrometer to detect atmospheric airglow and another to measure atmospheric absorption of solar ultraviolet radiation; and two magnetometers to monitor magnetic field variations throughout the flight.

During the Venus flyby at a distance of 5760 km on Feb. 5 1974, Mariner 10 returned 3500 photographs – those taken in ultraviolet radiation showing the planet's cloud cover and atmospheric circulation in unprecedented detail. Using the gravitational pull of Venus, the probe was placed on course for a Mercury flyby on Mar. 29 1974. After course corrections two more visits to Mercury took place on Sept. 21 1974 and Mar. 19 1975, each after two solar orbits by Mercury and one by Mariner 10. The three Mercury encounters, at minimum distances of 740 km, 48 000 km, and 330 km respectively, provided more than 10 000 photographs of Mercury and led to the discovery of the planet's magnetic field. See also Mercury; Venus.

References in periodicals archive ?
Decades ago, NASA's Mariner 10 probe flew by Mercury and found large fault scarps (cliff-like landforms resembling steps) on the planet.
Ever since Mariner 10 flew by Mercury in 1974 and 1975, researchers have known that the planet was darker than Earth's moon.
1974: The US spacecraft Mariner 10 took the first close-up pictures of Mercury.
Little was known about the surface of Mercury until 1974 when the Mariner 10 spacecraft made a series of flybys past the tiny planet.
Until Messenger, the only spacecraft to visit Mercury was NASA's Mariner 10 back in the 1970s.
Of course, very few surface details were known until Mariner 10 made the first surface photos during its three flybys from March 1974 to March 1975.
Hauck, II, a professor of planetary sciences at Case Western Reserve University and the paper's co-author, said that with MESSENGER, we have now obtained images of the entire planet at high resolution and, crucially, at different angles to the sun that show features Mariner 10 could not in the 1970s.
Mercurio, el planeta mas cercano al Sol, tal vez es el mas desconocido de nuestro sistema solar, pues unicamente dos naves espaciales lo han visitado, el Mariner 10, entre 1974 y 1975, y el Messenger que desde hace un ano gira alrededor del planeta y envia informacion sobre su composicion y superficie.
In 1973, NASA sent a spacecraft, called Mariner 10, to study Mercury.
Until 2008 January 14, when Messenger made its first close fly-by past the planet, this had meant specifically data from Mariner 10, the only previous space probe ever to have visited Mercury.
Only Nasa's Mariner 10 and Messenger spacecraft have so far visited the planet.