Space: Mission to Mars

The planet Mars follows such an eccentric orbit around the sun that it is accessible to probing spacecraft from earth only one month out of every 25—a period referred to by scientists as "the window." All through November the window was open, but the first U.S. attempt to peek inside failed when the Mariner C spacecraft, unable to jettison its 300-lb. fiber-glass protective shield, could not attain the necessary speed.

Last week the U.S. tried again, barely two days before the window would have slammed shut until December 1966.

At Cape Kennedy a...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!