To explore the planet Mars in closer detail, NASA sent the Mariner 4 into space on November 28, 1964 for a 228 trip around the red planet. Equipped with advanced scientific measuring devices and being the fourth spacecraft intended for orbital exploration in space, the Mariner 4 collected data mainly on the surface of Mars being only at an altitude of 6,118 miles (9,846 kilometers) above the surface. Disappointingly, the data transmitted back to Earth showed no evidence of intelligent life as scientist Percival Lowell had claimed in 1890. Once in orbit, the Mariner 4 took a total of 22 pictures covering a small percent of the planet's surface area. The total data received by scientists on Earth totaled to be 5.2 million bits at a relatively sluggish rate of 8.33 bps. Some photos introduced scientists to some of the most magnificent natural phenomenon present on Mars including the huge waterways and massive volcanoes. After Mariner 4 left the surface of Mars, it ventured on to meet with the Sun before returning to Earth in 1967.
This photo depicts the imaging geometry that Mariner 4 took in surveillance of Mars (Copyright Calvin J. Hamilton).