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The first TV image of Mars was made with crayons

The first broadcast image of Mars was actually made with crayons, coloured according to data breamed back from the Mariner 4.

At 03:13:04 UT signal was reacquired. All systems were nominal, cruise mode was re-established, and transmission of the images started 8.5 hours later. It lasted until August 3.

The people at the JPL were so excited to receive the images that they couldn’t wait for them to be processed by the lab’s imager. As the first picture was beamed down as a stream of 8-bit numbers—each point indicating a brightness point—they thought of a quick way to get an image straight away: Print the numbers indicating brightness in paper strips, put them together, and color them with pastel crayons.

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