Illustration of the Mariner 2 spacecraft

The Mariner 9 spacecraft reached its 60th day of travel in its 167 day journey to Mars today and is 11,303,000 miles from Earth.

Since launch on May 30 the spacecraft has traveled 99,641,000 miles on a curving path around the Sun headed for Mars intercept on November 13, 1971. The current velocity, relative to Earth, is 11,469 MPH.

A small course correction is planned for late October to prepare the spacecraft for a precise injection into orbit at Mars on November 13.

Basic objective of the mission is 90 days in orbit and mapping of about 70% of the Martian surface with two television cameras. Ohter experiments will record atmospheric and surface data.

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