Mariner 10 was a new kind of spacecraft. It was the first attempt to reach Mercury; there had been probes to Mars and Venus, and Pioneers 10 and 11 had already launched to the outer giants by the time that Mariner 10 soared aloft on 3 November 1973. However, the Atlas-Centaur launcher was not powerful enough to send Mariner direct to Mercury, and use had to be made of what is termed the gravity-assist technique. Venus would be encountered first, and its gravitational pull used to put Mariner into the correct course for Mercury.
KeywordsSolar Wind Radio Telescope Active Pass Neutron Spectrometer Gravitational Pull
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