Mariner 9 was a NASA space orbiter that was used in the exploration of the planet
Mars. It was launched toward Mars on May 30, 1971 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and reached the planet on November 13 of the same year, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit another planet, narrowly beating Soviet Mars 2 and Mars 3, which arrived at their destination within a month. The orbiter began sending back pictures
of the surface of Mars after months of dust storms. Below are some photos taken
as Mariner 9 approached the planet. It returned 7,329 pictures of the planet’s
surface before contact was lost on October 27, 1972.