Never Miss a word!
Kids need Science
Kids Need Science is devoted to demystifying and explaining science, technology, engineering and math words, names, and concepts. Check back often for a science, technology, engineering or math word defined and explained every day.
Tip Jar. This blog is completely self-funded and is 100% original content. Consider a small donation to help buy dictionaries and images to use on this site. Thanks!

On this date, November 13, 1971 the Mariner 9 spacecraft became the first artificial satellite to orbit another planet.  Launched on May 30, 1971, the satellite took just over five months to reach Mars and narrowly beat two Russian spacecraft (Mars 2 and Mars 3) by a month to reach Mars orbit.  Mariner 9 took 7,329 images of the Red planet before retiring a year later in October 1972.  Mariner 9 was packed with technology and weighed more than its two predecessors (Mariner 6 and 7) combined. Despite carrying an impressive array of cameras and sensing technology, when Mariner 9 arrived at Mars, Mars was in the midst of a massive dust storm, blanketing much of the planet.  While this unexpected development delayed the first images of Mars, it validated the usefulness of a satellite in orbit and pointed out the need for surface exploration of the planet.

The word satellite comes from the Latin word satelles (satellitem is the closest Latin form) meaning an attendantfollowercourtier or life-guard. The great German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler is credited as the first to use satellite to describe a moon around a planet. The first use of satellite to indicate a man-made object was 1936, over twenty years before the Russians actually accomplished it with the launch in October 1957 of the satellite Sputnik. 

The Mariner 9 program paved the way for the Rover programs to follow, just as the earlier Mariner 6 and 7 flybys paved the way for the Mariner 9 orbit.  

Images of the Mariner 9 satellite and launch courtesy NASA, in the public domain.

  1. jingzjp reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  2. notaparagon reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  3. msdistress reblogged this from scinerds
  4. asokkalypsenow reblogged this from scinerds
  5. ikenboti reblogged this from kidsneedscience and added:
    On this date, November 13, 1971 the Mariner 9 spacecraft became the first artificial satellite to orbit another planet....
  6. starstuffblog reblogged this from disconnect-and-let-me-drift
  7. imias reblogged this from kidsneedscience and added:
    "Nothing is impossible"
  8. pharmuscidea reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  9. disconnect-and-let-me-drift reblogged this from scinerds
  10. kinkajou reblogged this from scinerds
  11. riotgrrrljaz reblogged this from afro-dominicano
  12. thesadisticpenguin reblogged this from afro-dominicano
  13. senchatengoku reblogged this from afro-dominicano
  14. cataclysmicnightmare reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  15. topazwoods reblogged this from scinerds
  16. fvsiion reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  17. noaa131 reblogged this from scinerds
  18. ad-kaz-aldevaran reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  19. natalyaaromanova reblogged this from afro-dominicano
  20. smamsblog reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  21. enjoyingflorida reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  22. dcy3 reblogged this from afro-dominicano
  23. scinerds reblogged this from afro-dominicano
  24. livelikeyourefree reblogged this from afro-dominicano