NASA / JPL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / JPL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mariner 2 spacecraft. Computer artwork of Mariner 2, the first successful spacecraft in the NASA Mariner program. This unmanned probe was equipped with a solar panel (upper centre and lower right), two radiometers (microwave and infrared), a micrometeorite sensor, a solar plasma sensor, a charged particle sensor, and a magnetometer. These devices were for measuring Venus's atmosphere, magnetic field, charged particle environment and mass. This spacecraft was launched on 27th August 1962 and made a 3.5 month-long trip to Venus. It revealed, for the first time, that Venus has cool clouds but an extremely hot surface of about 500 degrees Celsius. It also was the first to measure the density, speed and composition of the solar wind. Mariner 2 is now defunct, having been left to orbit the Sun.
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