Mariner 2

Mariner 2Launched on August 27th, 1962, Mariner 2 was the first probe to pass another planet (Venus). It was an exact copy of Mariner 1 which failed at launch.

The probe weighed 202.8kg and was to fly past the planet and study it's atmosphere atmosphere as well as the the solar wind using the following instruments:

  • Microwave Radiometer (to detect surface temp)
  • Infrared Radiometer (more focused temperature detector)
  • Fluxgate Magnetometer
  • Ionization Chamber (Cosmic Rays)
  • Particle Detector (low energy radiation)
  • Cosmic Dust Detector
  • Solar Plasma Spectrometer (Solar Wind)

Mariner 2 - Packaged for LaunchThe mission was also meant to test some of the engineering challenges this Mariner 2 provided. These included the attitude control system, environmental control system, power system and the communication system.

One of the solar panels had an electrical short and systems were shut down during transit to conserve power usage. When the craft was close enough to the sun that one panel was sufficient to power the craft the instruments were turned back on. On December 14th, 1962 Mariner 2 made came within 35,000km of Venus. The mission was considered a success.

The last communication with the craft was January 3rd, 1963. Mariner 2 is now in a heliocentric orbit.

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