From The Associated Press (story published December 15):
Mariner II, a miracle of U.S. space science, has given man his first close look at another planet.
For 42 minutes yesterday it scanned Venus, flashing back 36 million miles the information which may unravel the secrets of the "veiled lady of the universe."
Today, as the spacecraft explored deeper into space, U.S. scientists dug into the mass of data -- more information about the Earth's closest planetary neighbor than has been recorded in all the history of star-gazing.
It was an incredible feat, and excited scientists rejoiced.
The historic fly-by came at 3 p.m. after a 109-day, 182-million-mile journey that began at a Cape Canaveral launching pad.
At its nearest approach to Venus the space laboratory was 21,100 miles from the planet -- relatively at its doorstep.
Special monitoring devices began to probe the cloud-covered surface at 1:55 p.m. and were switched off at 2:37 p.m.
Then the craft was speeding toward the sun, after having gone closer to a planet than any other space vehicle.
* From NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory: @
* "Dare Mighty Things" (from JPL): @* From NASA's National Space Science Data Center: @
* From space.com: @
* From National Air and Space Museum: @