On December 14, 1962, useful scientific information was radioed to Earth from the vicinity of another planet for the first time. The unmanned Mariner 2 spacecraft, with its six scientific instruments, passed within 34,800 kilometers (21,600 miles) of Venus. Mariner 2 indicated that Venus is very hot and has no measurable magnetic fields or radiation belts. On the way to Venus, Mariner 2's instruments detected and measured the radiation, magnetic fields, and dust of interplanetary space.
Contact with Mariner 2 was lost on January 2, 1963; it is now in orbit around the Sun. The spacecraft on display was constructed from test components by engineers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration