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Mariner 10 was the seventh successful launch in the Mariner series and the first spacecraft to use the gravitational pull of one planet (Venus) to reach another (Mercury). It was also the first probe to visit two planets. Launched on November 3, 1973, it reached Venus on February 5, 1974. Using a gravity assist from this planet, Mariner 10 first crossed the orbit of Mercury on March 29, 1974 and did so a second time on September 21, 1974. A third and last Mercury encounter took place on March 16, 1975. It measured the environments of both Venus and Mercury. It then undertook experiments in the interplanetary medium. Mariner 10 showed that Venus had at best a weak magnetic field, and the ionosphere interacted with the solar wind to form a bow shock. At Mercury, it confirmed that Mercury had no atmosphere and a cratered, dormant Moon-like surface.

This flight spare was transferred from NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory to the Museum in 1982.

Display Status This object is on display in the Kenneth C. Griffin Exploring the Planets Gallery at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC Kenneth C. Griffin Exploring the Planets Gallery
Object Details
Key Accomplisment(s) First Spacecraft to Use Gravity Assist Brief Description Mariner 10 was the first spacecraft to use the gravitational pull of one planet to reach another and the first probe to visit two planets. Launched November 3, 1973, it reached Venus on February 5, 1974. Using gravity assist, it went on to fly by Mercury. Country of Origin United States of America Type SPACECRAFT-Unmanned-Communications Manufacturer Boeing Aerospace Company Dimensions Overall: 6 ft. tall x 6 ft. wide x 6 ft. deep (182.88 x 182.88 x 182.88cm)
Other (magnetometer boom): 20 ft. long (609.6cm)
Materials Aluminum, mixed metals
Alternate Name Mariner 10 Inventory Number A19830006000 Credit Line Transferred from NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory Data Source National Air and Space Museum Restrictions & Rights Open Access (CCO)
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