Revealing Mars: History
Mars@50 Those Were The Days...
When you have been exploring a planet for 50 years, you should expect a few changes! Our tools and techniques for exploring Mars have improved, from the first grainy black-and-white images taken by telescopes on Earth, to full-color panoramas taken by rovers on the martian surface. Use the slider below to see a few examples of how times have changed.
Click on Left Image/Right Image to learn more about each image.
Martian MosaicsWhen twin spacecraft Mariner 6 and 7 sent back wide-angle images of Mars, scientists glued them on a globe already containing an indistinct, Earth-based view of Mars. Today, we leave the cutting and pasting to software programs that seamlessly stitch together to create mosaics of Mars.
Yes, Mr. President!When planetary firsts happen, the President might come calling! William Pickering, the Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, presented President Lyndon Johnson with prints taken during Mariner 4's historic flyby of Mars. In 2012, when the Curiosity rover safely touched down on Mars, President Barak Obama called JPL to offer his congratulations on "sticking the landing."
Fun in the SunEngineers run many tests before sending the spacecraft on their journeys into space. In 1964, on a tight schedule, engineers tested Mariner 4's solar panels outdoors in a plastic tent. Engineers deployed the solar arrays for the MAVEN spacecraft in a cleanroom, no sunblock needed.