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The Great Martian Storm of ’71

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The Great Martian Storm of ’71

On November 14th 1971 NASA’s Mariner 9 became the first spacecraft to successfully orbit another planet. Its video-camera imaging system powered up, and American scientists eagerly awaited the first detailed pictures of Mars since the flyby of Mariners 6 and 7 just two years earlier.

Except what came back from the deep space telemetry were not pictures of the intricate canyons, craters, and mountains of Mars, but pictures of a blanketed world, a dust enshrouded mystery. Mariner 9 had arrived in the midst of one of the greatest global storms humans have ever witnessed on Mars.

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