Science: Rendezvous with Mars

After a voyage of more than five months and 248 million miles, the first of a trio of terrestrial ships made its rendezvous with Mars late last week. Precisely on schedule, the 1,300-lb. U.S. Mariner 9 fired its retrorocket and went into a looping orbit around the red planet, swinging as close as 800 miles to the Martian surface. With that successful maneuver, controlled entirely by its onboard computer, the $76.8 million windmill-shaped robot became the first man-made satellite of another planet. As pictures of the dust-obscured Martian surface began reaching earth, delighted mission controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in...

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