The third American spacecraft to successfully explore the Red Planet was launched on this day in history.
Mariner 7, designed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA, was launched onboard an Atlas-Centaur rocket on March 27th, 1969. Its mission was the same as it sister craft, Mariner 6, to fly-by and explore the planet Mars.
This would be third such American craft to do so, following in the footsteps of Mariner 4, the first spacecraft to photograph the planet. It flew by Mars on August of that year, taking a variety of photographs and other scientific readings. Between Mariners 6 and 7, over 20 percent of Mars was photographed.
The next Mariner mission to make it to Mars, Mariner 9, would actually orbit the Red Planet to study it in even more detail.