Mariner 2 Flies By Venus
Mariner 2 Flies By Venus
On December 14, 1962, Mariner 2 became the first spacecraft to fly by Venus.
Identical to Mariner 1, which had launched a month earlier, Mariner 2 launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on August 27, 1962. On its journey to Venus, the Mariner 2 experienced some issues, but most were remotely correctable, or were corrected by the probe itself.
On December 14, Mariner 2 became the first spacecraft to encounter another planet. On that day, 110 days into its mission, it passed within 21,607 miles of Venus. One of the notable pieces of data from this flyby was the temperature. The temperature of Venus’ atmosphere was measured to be 900 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mariner 2 continued to travel beyond Venus and sent back its last transmission on January 3, 1963. The entire mission had lasted 129 days. Though it no longer sends back data, Mariner 2 is still in orbit today.
A great deal of information about Venus was revealed through the Mariner 2 mission. A microwave radiometer measured temperatures on different spots of the planet, revealing that its temperature is generally the same all around. An infrared radiometer confirmed that radiation temperatures were the same as measurements made from Earth.
Data from the magnetometer revealed Venus has a persistent interplanetary magnetic field. Another test showed that Venus didn’t have a detectable magnetosphere or radiation belt. Mariner 2 provided more accurate measurements of Venus’ mass and Astronomical Unit. And findings suggested that Venus rotates much slower than Earth and in the opposite direction. Future missions would confirm this.
Additional data collected throughout the journey showed seven small solar bursts of radiation. The probe also discovered in the space between planets, solar winds move continuously.
The next major mission to Venus occurred in 1970, when Venera 7 was the first to land a spacecraft on another planet. Finally, in the 1990s, the Magellan probe used radar to provide the first images of Venus’ surface. The photos revealed a planet covered with more than 1,000 volcanoes, some of which could still be active today.
Venus differs from Earth, and most of the planets, in that it rotates clockwise. Scientists speculate that Venus once spun in the same direction as Earth, but was struck by a large object, flipping the planet upside down, so it spins in the same direction but appears reversed.
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7 responses to "Mariner 2 Flies By Venus"
7 thoughts on “Mariner 2 Flies By Venus”
Love all this science! I would imagine that anything large enough to flip Venus upside down would have left a mark on it somewhere. Why haven’t they detected any large craters or other signs of damage/impact indicating such a collision?
Al, this is from NASA’s website; “Venus is covered in craters, and none are smaller than 0.9 to 1.2 miles across. That is because small meteoroids burn up in the dense atmosphere, so only large meteoroids reach the surface and create impact craters.”
who cares about this crap? Anything outside this world doesn’t exist for me stop wasting space9no pun intended. Seriously we have too much going on in this world. Forget this other world crap. I love our earth so flush this.
I just wonder what color the sky is in your world?
I find this to be fascinating. It never ceases to amaze me what the human spirit can do. Perhaps, some day, if we don’t destroy ourselves first, we will know where human life actually originated. And further, at the rate the world we live on is being decimated, it behooves the human race to seek the technology and ability to perpetuate our species, albeit on another world. It is really Ludacris to believe that we are the only life forms in this vast universe, or that there aren’t many wonders to yet be discovered. What is on the other side of space, given that the universe is continually expanding and at ever increasing speeds (what is it expanding into)? Will our technology someday allow us to “go where no man has gone before, seek out new life forms and civilizations”. The possibilities are mind boggling for those with the intelligence and curiosity to find out.
“Space. The Final Frontier. “
Very interesting bit of info learnt some new facts about Mercury today. Time and space are truly mind boggling concepts to wrap our heads around. What we have discovered is truly only the tip of the proverbial iceberg….