Space: On to the Red Planet

For a few days last week, it seemed as if the U.S. and Soviet Russia were racing each other to Mars. No sooner had the U.S. launched Mariner IV from Cape Kennedy than the Russians put up Zond (for Probe) II. Scientists speculated that the Soviets' more powerful rockets might have given the Red spacecraft enough extra push to carry it past Mariner on the 228-day, 325 million-mile voyage to the red planet. But the race was not so much a contest between nations as it was a confrontation with the inexorable geometry...

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