Mariner 10 was an American robotic space probe launched by NASA on November 3, 1973, to fly by the planets Mercury and Venus.
Mariner 10 was launched approximately two years after Mariner 9 and was the last spacecraft in the Mariner program (Mariner 11 and 12 were allocated to the Voyager program and redesignated Voyager 1 and Voyager 2).
The mission objectives were to measure Mercury's environment, atmosphere, surface, and body characteristics and to make similar investigations of Venus. Secondary objectives were to perform experiments in the interplanetary medium and to obtain experience with a dual-planet gravity assist mission.
There currently is a spacecraft mission doing a more in-depth survey of Mercury, MESSENGER. The planning of the mission was dependent on Mariner 10's data sets.
Read more about Mariner 10: Design and Trajectory, Instruments, Departing The Earth–Moon System, Cruise To Venus, Venus Flyby, First Mercury Flyby, Second Mercury Flyby, Third Mercury Flyby, End of Mission, Discoveries, Mariner 10 Commemoration
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“Every gazette brings accounts of the untutored freaks of the wind,shipwrecks and hurricanes which the mariner and planter accept as special or general providences; but they touch our consciences, they remind us of our sins. Another deluge would disgrace mankind.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)