Illustration of the Mariner 2 spacecraft

Two Mariner Spacecraft, Mariners 8 & 9, will be launched to Mars this month.

The first launch date is Saturday, May 8th. The launch window for that day is from 6:30 p.m., PDT to 6:51 p.m., PDT.

The second launch is scheduled ten days later, May 18th, from 4:33 p.m., PDT to 5:53 p.m., PDT.

If the first launch slips the second launch will follow in ten days.

Arrival dates at Mars will occur on November 14th, and November 24th this year, regardless of launch date.

The two spacecraft will orbit Mars for 90 days photographing the surface and recording data on the make-up of the atmosphere, temperatures on the surface and in the atmosphere and atmospheric pressures.

Mariner 8 will be assigned the basic objective of mapping 70% of the planet's surface. Mariner 9 will study changes that occur on the surface and in the atmosphere over a period of time.

The press room at JPL will open two hours before launch.

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