Engineering Model, Mariner 2

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    Mariner 2

    Irregularly shaped space frame connecting a series of irregular box-like structures and a circular dish made of a space frame.

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    Mariner 2

    Irregularly shaped space frame connecting a series of irregular box-like structures and a circular dish made of a space frame.

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    Mariner 2

    Irregularly shaped space frame connecting a series of irregular box-like structures and a circular dish made of a space frame.

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    Mariner 2

    Irregularly shaped space frame connecting a series of irregular box-like structures and a circular dish made of a space frame.

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    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

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    Mariner 2

    Irregularly shaped space frame connecting a series of irregular box-like structures and a circular dish made of a space frame.

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    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

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    Mariner 2

    Irregularly shaped space frame connecting a series of irregular box-like structures and a circular dish made of a space frame.

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    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

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    Mariner 2

    Irregularly shaped space frame connecting a series of irregular box-like structures and a circular dish made of a space frame.

    7 of 18

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

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    Mariner 2

    Irregularly shaped space frame connecting a series of irregular box-like structures and a circular dish made of a space frame.

    8 of 18

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

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    Mariner 2

    Irregularly shaped space frame connecting a series of irregular box-like structures and a circular dish made of a space frame.

    9 of 18

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

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    Mariner 2

    Irregularly shaped space frame connecting a series of irregular box-like structures and a circular dish made of a space frame.

    10 of 18

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

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    Mariner 2

    Irregularly shaped space frame connecting a series of irregular box-like structures and a circular dish made of a space frame.

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    Mariner 2

    Irregularly shaped space frame connecting a series of irregular box-like structures and a circular dish made of a space frame.

    12 of 18

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    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

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    Mariner 2

    Irregularly shaped space frame connecting a series of irregular box-like structures and a circular dish made of a space frame.

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    Close-Up of Mariner 2

    A close-up image of Mariner 2. 

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    Mariner 2

    The unmanned Mariner 2 spacecraft began the era of robotic exploration of the planets, moons, asteroids, and comets in our solar system.

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    Mariner 2 Spacecraft

    Mariner 2 began the era of robotic exploration of the planets, moons, asteroids, and comets in our solar system.

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    Launch of Mariner 1

    The first Mariner spacecraft, Mariner 1, was intentionally destroyed shortly after the launch seen here on July 22, 1962, after the Atlas booster rocket carrying it veered off course. The fault was found to be a symbol (erroneously reported as a "hyphen") left out of the guidance equations. After correcting the error, Mariner 2 was successfully launched only 36 days later.

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    Temperature Readings of Venus taken by Mariner 2

    This graphic shows the Mariner 2 infrared temperature study of the clouds of Venus.  It was long believed that Venus, similar in size and in a close orbit to Earth, was Earth-like, and could possibly even support life. By the time of the Mariner mission, ground-based observations showed that the planet was too hot, and its CO2 atmosphere would not support life. Data from Mariner confirmed this, and also revealed that Venus has no appreciable magnetic field or radiation belts, as Earth has.  

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Display Status:

This object is on display in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

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.