Mariner 9The unmanned NASA/JPL space probe Mariner 9 concludes its mission to map the surface of Mars. After spending more than a year as the first human spacecraft to orbit another planet in the solar system, Mariner 9’s fuel supply has run out, but not before it has obtained over 7,000 images of the surface of Mars, discovering gigantic volcanoes and huge canyons in the process. The detailed photography returned by Mariner 9 is a vitally important tool for scientists and mission planners already hard at work on a potential robotic landing mission to Mars, to be launched later in the 1970s. Though inactive, Mariner 9 remains in orbit of Mars.