The First Space Mission, an Epic Fail?

The First Space Mission, an Epic Fail?

One of the most interesting facts that I learned today, was that the first space mission was programmed to land and discover more about Earth’s “sister planet”, Venus! NASA called the spacecraft Mariner 1, and launched it in 1962. Sadly, the scientist in charge of its programming hadn’t done the math right! (He forgot to add a minus sign to the equation! Whoops!) The whole mission went haywire, and the Mariner 1 took a nosedive into the Atlantic Ocean! Luckily for NASA, they had a back-up. On December 14, 1962, NASA had made history. The Mariner 2 had successfully reached Venus and given NASA immense information. NASA was so excited over their first success; they launched 10 more Mariners to various planets over the next two years! Layers upon layers of gases, remote temperatures, volcanic activity, and giant dust storms are just some of the few stunning facts that the Mariners’ have discovered about other planets. Let’s just say, by the end of 1975, (the end of Mariner 10’s voyage) mind-blowing facts were discovered, and spectacular photos of amazing scenery were revealed to the inhabitants of the Blue Planet!

One of the reasons I thought this article was interesting, was the fact that one little mistake could cause a disastrous outcome. This thought had entered my mind as I was reading about the part where the NASA scientist had sent the Mariner 1 on a detour route to the Atlantic Ocean. I thought about how that scientist might’ve been treated after the tragic crash-land of the spacecraft. He only forgot one little thing, and the entire mission had gone wrong! Another fact that interested me, was how much information NASA had gotten from the other 9 Mariners’ that had gone to Mercury, Venus, and Mars. They had taken so many pictures, that the Mariner 10 was taking a picture every 40 seconds! I think that this part of history really emphasizes the theory, “If you don’t get it right on the first try, then try try try again!” Perseverance! I’ve always been interested in space so this article was really engaging when I first read it. These are some of the many reasons of why I thought the article about the first space mission was really interesting!

Mercury  Updated calibration and subsequent mosaicing led to substantial improvements in NASA's Mariner 10 color image data; the spacecraft launched in 1974.

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