• Short Summary

    On its second close-up orbit of Mars, the American Mariner spacecraft could on Sunday (14 November) only send back indistinct pictures of the planets surface features.

  • Description

    MV & GV Reporter introducing Dr. Hibbs (2 shots)

    GV & CU Dr. Hibbs speaking to reporter over pictures of Mars

    TRANSCRIPT: (SEQ. 2): DR. ALBERT HIBBS: "Well, the first pictures that we're getting now from the Goldstone station are also showing us what may be the first clear details on the surface we've seen in what has been a rather long, frustrating photographic sequence. Over the right hand side the white markings may indeed be carbon dioxide snow on the South Pole of Mars."

    INTERVIEWER: "Dr. Hibbs, you've been receiving pictures through the morning, I wonder if you could give us a few of the best and give us some idea of what you've been looking at?"

    DR. HIBBS: "Well I can certainly show some of the pictures we've seen. This was the first wide angle shot. On the bottom of it you see what apparently are two grey bars, that's the edge of Mars and the two grey spots are really a sort of double exposure. It's one of the characteristics of the videocon to give this residual image. Here's the second one and you'll see also in all of these round circular patterns in the middle that are part of the optical system. Now, fortunately the computer can remove these things when we have a chance to run these through the computer. You can see on the upper right, you can see that little patch of white that began to show up."

    INTERVIEWER: "You're saying Doctor that not all the things we see are not necessarily the surface of Mars. We're seeing a duststorm really."

    DR. HIBBS: "Unfortunately very few things you're seeing are on the surface We are really looking down into what is a very string duststorm."

    INTERVIEWER: "Now in the course of approaching Mars have you seen any pictures that would illustrate any surface features at all to you?"

    DR. HIBBS: "Yes, from about 150,000 miles out we saw these three dark spots that are located down here, just along this portion of the planet which is really near the North Pole since this picture is, from the point of view of the Mariner upside down. And this was our first indication that some surface features may be showing up through the clouds".

    Initials OS/2141 OS/2152


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: On its second close-up orbit of Mars, the American Mariner spacecraft could on Sunday (14 November) only send back indistinct pictures of the planets surface features. A yellowish-red dust-storm entirely covering Mars continued to obscure all photographs. But a computer treatment of the pictures to heighten contrast did succeed in bringing out the line of the planet's horizon.

    Disappointed scientists monitoring it at Pasadena, California believed that with the dust-storm being stirred by 200-mile (320 kms) an hour winds, they would probably have to wait another three or four days to get a look at mystery patches seen in the 1969 Mariner fly-by flight.

    This film has a commentary by an official of the Mariner programme. An alternative written commentary is attached.

    SYNOPSIS: At Pasadena on Sunday scientists had another disappointing day of pictures from Mars relayed by America's Mariner-9 spacecraft.

    Mariner Controller Dr. Albert Hibbs explained to journalists that a yellowish-red duststorm covering the planet's entire surface continued to obscure surface features. But white markings on the right hand side of pictures did reveal what may be carbon dioxide snow lying on the South Pole of Mars. PAUSE
    On the first wide angle shot two grey spots mark out the line of the planet's horizon. PAUSE In a second photograph, the round circular patterns in the middle are part of the optical system of the spacecraft's two television cameras. Computer treatment can remove them by heightening contrast. And scientists expect to wait perhaps another three or four days before the duststorm dies down enough to reveal features in detail. They believe the duststorm -- being stirred by howling 200-mile (320 kms) an hour winds might then died down just as dramatically as it sprung up seven weeks ago. Meanwhile Mariner-9 will continue on its 90-day orbit, moving as close as 868 miles (1,388 kms) above the glistening white Polar cap now melting in the Martian summer.

    The Spacecraft is dur to make overlapping photo-taking passes, moving eastward nine degrees with each pass. PAUSE
    Jet Propulsion scientists said information about the duststorm might be passed on to help the Russians under a new scientific exchange agreement signed between the two countries.

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