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"Mariner 10 and Mercury"

 

Mariner 10 sweeps past Mercury

"Mariner 10 and Mercury" (2007) - The Mariner Venus-Mercury project of the mid-1970's remains a shining example of the excitement of planetary exploration's "Golden Age". Working on a shoestring budget, already-existing hardware designed for Mars missions was adapted for the very different conditions encountered while visiting the two inner planets. The mission profile itself was a tribute to innovative interplanetary multitasking.

As it sped to the inner solar system, Mariner looked homeward to take images of Earth and the Moon's north polar region, as well as take measurements of Comet Kohoutek. The inbound spacecraft later encountered Venus for an unprecedented gravity-assist maneuver to place it in a retrograde solar orbit that would set up flyby Mercury encounters every six months. While at Venus, Mariner took measurements and the first close-range images of the planet, most notably ultraviolet records of cloud patterns. During its three operational encounters with Mercury, Mariner imaged about half of the planet's surface.

Although known to the ancients as one of the five "wanderers", Mercury never revealed much more than Moon-like phases through even the most powerful telescopes. Almost instantly, Mariner showed the true appearance of this elusive spot of light that had been watched and wondered about for centuries.

Copyright 2007, James Hervat

Please scroll down to see detail view.

 

PRINTS AVAILABLE

High-quality reproductions of all the artwork in this gallery are available from my Print Store. They are offered in a range of sizes, printed on paper, canvas or other print substrates. Prints can be ordered unframed or you can choose from a selection of framing and matting options. Orders are usually shipped in 2-3 business days and come with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee return policy. Please see the PRINTS page for more information and a link to the Print Store.

 

Detail view Mariner 10 and Mercury

 

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