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Slide 4 of 16
Mariner 9 was the first spacecraft launched from Earth to orbit Mars. After entering Mars orbit, Mariner 9 had to wait out a severe duststorm. This duststorm unfortunately doomed two Soviet spacecraft -Mars 2 and Mars 3- as they attempted to land on the planet. During the year that she spent orbiting Mars, Mariner 9 sent back thousands of pictures covering almost 100% of the surface of the planet. The pictures revealed, rough terrain with varied coloration that could have created an illusion of canals for Percival Lowell.
Some scientists considered the planet a good candidate for life, at least at the microscopic level; the planet showed signs of erosion by wind and water (ancient riverbeds) and volcanoes and canyons. Therefore, Mars appeared to have once contained flowing water, thicker air and geologic activity.