#80-4980 by D. Penland
First Spacecraft to Study Another Planet
Date of Milestone:
December 14, 1962
| Mission Operated by:
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
| Spacecraft Location:
Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum, Milestones of Flight Gallery
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 measureable
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.
||3.7 m (12 ft)
||5 m (16 ft 6 in)
||203 kg (447 lb)
||Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Mariner 2 - Collections Database