On May 30, 1971, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched an unmanned space probe called Mariner 9 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Mariner 9 carried equipment that would send images and other data back to Earth after the spacecraft reached its target—orbit around Mars. Mariner 9 reached the Red Planet more than five months later.
 
Mariner 9, Mars' first artificial satellite, spent nearly one year in orbit. It sent back thousands of images: enormous volcanoes, huge canyons, and even evidence of very old riverbeds. Mariner 9 also sent the first close-up images of the two Martian moons, Phobos and Deimos.
 
The Mariner 9 mission was a new way to explore the solar system. Instead of flying by a planet, the space probe orbited around it to get more detailed information. Mariner 9 was a very successful mission, and it prompted many later missions to Mars.
artificial satellite
Noun

object launched into orbit.

Noun

deep, narrow valley with steep sides.

data
Plural Noun

(singular: datum) information collected during a scientific study.

equipment
Noun

tools and materials to perform a task or function.

Noun

natural satellite of a planet.

NASA
Noun

(National Aeronautics and Space Administration) the U.S. space agency, whose mission statement is "To reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind."

orbit
Noun

path of one object around a more massive object.

Noun

large, spherical celestial body that regularly rotates around a star.

solar system
Noun

the sun and the planets, asteroids, comets, and other bodies that orbit around it.

spacecraft
Noun

vehicle designed for travel outside Earth's atmosphere.

space probe
Noun

set of scientific instruments and tools launched from Earth to study the atmosphere and composition of space and other planets, moons, or celestial bodies.

unmanned
Adjective

lacking the physical presence of a person.

Noun

an opening in the Earth's crust, through which lava, ash, and gases erupt, and also the cone built by eruptions.

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