Space: Mariner's Progress

Last week the Mariner II spacecraft was 7,651,352 miles away from the earth and 28.9 million miles this side of Venus, its destination. As Mariner barreled away from the earth at 7,724 miles an hour toward a scheduled approach to Venus on Dec. 14, Pasadena's Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced that it will pass somewhat farther away from Venus than predicted —20,900 miles instead of 9,000 miles. The small rocket that adjusted its course on Sept. 4 seems to have pushed it slightly too hard, increasing its speed by 47 m.p.h. instead of 45.

But Mariner II will pass plenty close...

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