To other worlds

As early as 1959, the Soviet Union began to launch primitive probes toward the Moon. The first Lunik probe missed by thousands of miles, but the second made a direct hit, and the third successfully flew behind the Moon and returned pictures of the unseen far side

The increasing power of rockets meant that the opposing nations of the space race were soon able to send probes out to the other worlds of the inner solar system. The US Pioneers explored interplanetary space, while their series of Mariner probes, often built in pairs to insure against accidents, made the first successful flybys of Venus (1962), Mars (1965), and Mercury (1974). These first probes revealed just a glimpse of each planet—it was not until space scientists perfected the techniques for putting spacecraft in orbit and landing them on the surfaces of other planets (both pioneered by probes to the

pioneering

The early Pioneers, such as Pioneer 2, were attempts to reach the Moon. They were the first US probes into interplanetary space.

pioneering

The early Pioneers, such as Pioneer 2, were attempts to reach the Moon. They were the first US probes into interplanetary space.

i venus lander

The Soviet Venera 9 lander sent back data from the surface of Venus for 53 minutes after its landing on October 22, 1975.

Moon) that our knowledge of the inner solar system began to increase. The Soviets sent heavily shielded probes into the choking atmosphere of Venus, eventually receiving pictures from the surface in 1975, while NASA's Pioneer Venus and the European Magellan used radar to map the planet from orbit. NASA's Mariner 9 went into orbit around Mars in 1971, transforming our view of the planet. It was followed by the twin Viking probes of 1976, each comprising both an orbiter and a lander.

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