Mariner 10 Image Browser and Reconstructor

Software for Mariner 10 TV experiment.

Program MarinerView was created for Mariner 10 Raw EDR Images in VICAR Format (PDS), volumes MVM_0001 to MVM_0015 CD-WO produced by the Science Digital Data Preservation Task. NSSDC data set ID: PSPA-00108, other data set ID: 73-085A-01U. This data set consists of the Experimental Data Records (EDRs) for the 12500 images obtained by the Mariner 10 TV Experiment.The EDRs consist of unprocessed instrument data in VICAR (Video Image Communication and Retrieval) format.

Each image file consists 22 blocks containing 31944 bytes per block.The first logical record of the first block contains a single set of VICAR label information. The labels are followed by 700 logical records (one per image line) containing pixel data and engineering data.

This data set is available from National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC).
More about this data set at:

MarinerView is a Windows viewer for this data set.

Example 1.
Mercury image before and after despeckle filter.

Program options

Example 2.
Mercury image before and after reconstruction (435000 pixels added).


Example 3.
Venus UV image and Moon image.

Additional options

Overview of the Mariner 10 mission.

The Mariner 10 mission was the first multiplanet mission carried out by a single spacecraft. In one flyby of Venus followed by three flybys of Mercury, Mariner 10 returned more than 12000 images to Earth. The primary goal of the Mariner 10 mission was to obtain data about Mercury, a planet that had never before been visited by a spacecraft.

Mariner 10 was launched on November 2, 1973 atop the Atlas/Centaur rocket from Launch Complex 36B. Spacecraft was placed in a parking orbit after launch for approximately 25 minutes, than placed in orbit around the Sun en route to Venus. The orbit direction was opposite to the motion of the Earth around the Sun. The spacecraft passed Venus on February 5, 1974 at a distance of 4200 km. It crossed the orbit of Mercury on March 29, 1974, at a distance of about 704 km from the surface. A second encounter with Mercury occured on September 21, 1974, at an altitude of about 47,000 km. A third and last Mercury encounter at an altitude of 327 km, with additional photography of about 300 photographs occured on March 16, 1975. Engineering tests were continued until March 24, 1975, when the supply of attitude control gas was depleted and the mission was terminated.

Mariner 10 - Cassegrain telescopes

Mariner 10 Television Experiment.

The television system centered around two vidicon cameras, each equipped with an eight-position filter wheel. The vidicons were attached to telescopes mounted on a scan platform that allowed movement in vertical and horizontal directions for precise targeting on the planetary surfaces. These folded optics (Cassegrain) telescopes were required to provide narrow-angle, high-resolution photography. An auxiliary optical system mounted on each camera allowed the acquisition of a wide-angle, lower-quality image. Changing to the wide-angle photography was done by moving a mirror on the filter wheel to a position in the optical path of the auxiliary system. In addition to wide-angle capability, the filter wheels included blue bandpass filters, ultraviolet polarizing filters, minus ultraviolet high-pass filters, clear apertures, ultraviolet bandpass filters, defocussing lenses for calibration, and yellow bandpass filters. A shutter blade controlled the exposure of the 9.8- by 12.3-mm image face of the vidicon for an interval that could be varied from 3 msec to 12 sec. The light image formed on the photosensitive surface of the vidicon produced an electrostatic charge proportional to the relative brightness of points within the image. During vidicon readout, an electron beam scanned the back side of the vidicon and neutralized part of the charge so as to produce electric current variations proportional to the point charge being scanned at the time. These analog signals produced from the vidicon readout process were electronically digitized as 832 discrete dots or picture elements (pixels) per scan line, and presented to the flight data system in the form of 8-bit elements for transmission. Each TV frame-one picture-consisted of 700 of these vidicon scan lines. All timing and control signals, such as frame start, line start/stop, frame erase, shutter open/close, and filter wheel step, were provided by the systems on board the spacecraft.

Mariner 10 visited planets.

Very soon after launch, the planet-viewing experiments were turned on, a first time for planetary missions. The aim was to calibrate the instruments in the well-known environment of the Earth-Moon system. First TV pictures of Earth were obtained 16 hours and 15 minutes after liftoff. In all, Mariner 10's cameras provided a series of five Earth mosaics within the first few days of flight. These mosaics revealed intricate cloud patterns at about the same resolution expected during the Venus flyby. The Earth pictures could provide valuable comparisons with the Venus clouds.

As it passed the Moon, Mariner provided views of the north polar regions. Mariner 10's cameras provided a series of six mosaics of the Moon. The path of Mariner allowed images to be obtained of the north polar region of the Moon, which, because of constraints on paths of other space vehicles, had previously been covered only obliquely.

In February 1974 at a minimum distance of 5785 km from the surface, Mariner 10 flew by Venus, accomplishing a series of studies and, simultaneously, a perturbation maneuver in its gravitational field that assured a continued flight to Mercury.

On March 23, 1974 Mariner 10 began photographing Mercury, and by April 3 it had collected an unprecedented store of scientific data, including more than 2000 high-resolution television pictures. Mariner 10 was placed in a orbit around the Sun that returned the spacecraft to Mercury twice more at a six-month intervals.

Earth Image (71 KB)
Moon Image (112 KB)
Venus Atmosphere UV Image 1 (205 KB)
Venus Atmosphere UV Image 2 (152 KB)
Low Resolution Mercury Image (63 KB)
Medium Resolution Mercury Image (132 KB)
High Resolution Mercury Image 1 (134 KB)
High Resolution Mercury Image 2 (119 KB)

Mariner 10 Image Processing.

Image processing - examples.

Reconstruction filter - example (200 KB)

Despeckle filter - example (345 KB)

Despeckle of high efficiency - example (542 KB)

Despeckle and Contrast Stretch - example (156 KB)

Despeckle, Stretch and Invert - example (321 KB)

False colors - Venus atmosphere (411 KB)

False colors - Mercury surface (249 KB)

Image processing - detailed view.

This series of pictures shows how the MarinerView program cleans up errors in real-time pictures. The first picture in series shows fragment of original picture as received in real-time with a different bit error rate. This same picture is shown after the MarinerView program detected and replaced pixels that were in error. It did this by averaging between the correct neighboring pixels that surrounded each pixel in error.

Reconstruction - detailed view (63 KB)

Despeckling - detailed view (106 KB)

Despeckling of high efficiency - detailed view (118 KB)

Sharpen filter - detailed view (60 KB)

Contrast Stretching - detailed view (24 KB)

False Colors using - Venus, detailed view (20 KB) - version 2.02 only

False Colors using - Mercury, detailed view (77 KB) - version 2.02 only

Mariner 10 Image Processing Sequences.

Sequence 1 (504 KB)

Sequence 2 (544 KB)

Sequence 3 (542 KB)

Sequence 4 (144 KB)

Sequence 5 (318 KB) - version 2.02 only

Sequence 6 (420 KB) - version 2.02 only

Final products.

Reconstructed Image - final product (74 KB)

Despeckled Image - final product (226 KB)

Despeckled Image with errors high density - final product (259 KB)

Other examples (271 KB)

Colored Mercury Images (302 KB)

Colored Venus Images (287 KB)

Moon mosaic example (291 KB)

Mariner 10 Processed Image Gallery.

Geological features gallery.


Mariner 10 image description

Mercury Mariner 10 - crater with melted flat floor (141 KB)
Mercury Mariner 10 - crater with complex central peak and wall terraces (158 KB)
Mercury Mariner 10 - smooth plain with several "ghost" craters (118 KB)
Mercury Mariner 10 - smooth plains with a mare-like ridges (143 KB)
Mercury Mariner 10 - Caloris Basin fragment (182 KB)
Mercury Mariner 10 - hilly and lineated "weird" terrain antipodal to the Caloris Basin (137 KB)
Mercury Mariner 10 - crater with a double ring, two types of craters (159 KB)
Mercury Mariner 10- scarp inside medium size crater (122 KB)
Mercury Mariner 10 - region with very low craters density (122 KB)
Mercury Mariner 10 - craters different age (150 KB)
Mercury Mariner 10 - radial grooves (129 KB)
Mercury Mariner 10 - craters group with degradated wall (118 KB)
Mercury Mariner 10 - long scarp formed by crust compression (116 KB)
Mercury Mariner 10 - young crater on scarp (123 KB)
Mercury Mariner 10 - non-continuous scarp example (156 KB)
Mercury Mariner 10 - bright fresh material on surface (129 KB)

Venus atmosphere.

Ultraviolet photographs of Venus showed surprising details of atmospheric patterns. These views of high and low latitude regions of Venus reveals spiral-like markings and streamline flows. These images was obtained in ultraviolet light to bring out details in the upper cloud layer, which appears very bland at visible wavelengths.

Venus Mariner 10 - high latitude region (250 KB)

Venus Mariner 10 - low latitude region (187 KB)


High-resolution pictures, each only a quarter frame in effect problems with the tape recorder and transmitter, were obtained at the third encounter.

Mercury - tape recorder and transmitter problems example (44 KB)

See also :

Mariner 6 and 7 Image Browser

Mariner 9 Image Browser

Viking Orbiter Image Viewer

Cassini Orbiter Image Viewer   ( New )

Venera 15 and 16 Radar Mosaic Browser

Other Links :

Mariner IV First Flyby of Mars - by JPL engineer William L. Momsen

References :

Martin Michael D.; Stanley Carol L.;Laughlin Gaylin Planetary Image Conversion Task - Final Report - Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology 1985
Dunne James A.; Burgess Eric The Voyage of Mariner 10 Mission to Venus and Mercury - National Aeronautics and Space Administration SP-424, Washington, D.C. 1978
Strom Robert G., Maxwell Ted A. Mercury, The Elusive Planet Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington 1987
Strom Robert G., Sprague Ann L. Exploring Mercury Springer Verlag, Berlin; Praxis Publishing 2003

MarinerView is FREEWARE

New version with false-colors processing :

DOWNLOAD MarinerView version 2.04 NOW !!! (269 K)

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visitors since 2001.06.17

Last Updated: 2002.07.20

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