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Television Photography

NSSDCA ID: 1971-051A-04

Mission Name: Mariner 9
Principal Investigator:Dr. Harold Masursky


This experiment consisted of a 2-in. vidicon television camera which transmitted photography from Mars. It was a photometrically calibrated instrument providing overlapping, selectively filtered, low-resolution pictures and broadband (unfiltered) high-resolution pictures, each nested in a low-resolution overlap. Both types of pictures had approximately a 700- by 380-element format, and an order-of-magnitude difference in resolution between them. Resolution of 500 m/TV line and 50 m/TV line resulted from low (11 deg by 14 deg) and high (1.1 deg by 1.4 deg) resolution pictures taken at a periapsis altitude of 2000 km. The official ordering system of identification of pictures was by a 9-digit number called Data Automation Set (DAS) which is chronological and a kind of time. More than 7,300 pictures of the Martian surface, the Martian satellites, Saturn, and star fields were acquired during the mission. A variety of picture enhancement techniques had been applied to the original data resulting in more than 30,000 photographs being available through NSSDC. These different versions of the original imagery were processed using the Mission Test Video System (MTVS) and the Image Processing Laboratory (IPL) at JPL.

Alternate Names

  • Mariner9/TelevisionPhotography
  • urn:nasa:pds:context:instrument:iss.mr9

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications (United States)


  • Planetary Science: Atmospheres
  • Planetary Science: Geology and Geophysics

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Joshua LederbergOther InvestigatorStanford
Mr. W. ThompsonOther InvestigatorBellcom, Inc
Dr. Gerard H. de VaucouleursOther InvestigatorUniversity of Texas, Austin
Dr. Harold MasurskyPrincipal InvestigatorUS Geological Survey

Selected References

  • Masursky, H., et al., Television experiment for Mariner Mars 1971, Icarus, 12, No. 1, 10-45, doi:10.1016/0019-1035(70)90029-1, Jan. 1970.
  • Levinthal, E. C., et al., Mariner 9 - Image processing and products, Icarus, 18, No. 1, 75-101, doi:10.1016/0019-1035(73)90174-7, 1973.
  • Koskela, P. E., Mariner Mars 1971 television picture catalog sequence design and picture coverage, NASA-JPL, TM 33-585, Vol. II, Addendum 1, Pasadena, CA, July 1973.
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