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Slide 2 of 16


In 1965, Mariner 4 made the first successful Mars flyby, passing the planet at an altitude of 9,846 kilometers (6,118 miles). The spacecraft carried a television camera that took 22 pictures; the first close up pictures of the Martian surface. Although by this time very few people still believed in Percival Lowell's concept of a dying Martian technological civilization, many scientists had hoped that the Mariner 4 photographs would reveal a planet quite similar to the Earth. It was therefore a disappointment to many that the planet's surface looked more like that of the moon. The pictures demonstrated that Lowell's canals had been an optical illusion. Nevertheless, there was evidence suggesting that natural waterways of some sort had existed at some time in the past.