Welcome to "On This Day ... in Space!" where we peer back in our archives to find historic moments in spaceflight and astronomy. So enjoy a blast from the past with Space.com's Hanneke Weitering to look back at what happened on this day in space!
The Mariner 2 spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral on August 27, 1962, and it took the spacecraft three and a half months to reach Venus. NASA reported several technical problems along the way, but Mariner 2 pulled through, and passed less than 22,000 miles from the surface of Venus. This was the first time a spacecraft successfully flew by another planet.
The mission not only taught NASA about Venus, but it also helped NASA figure out how to operate a spacecraft far away from Earth.
Hanneke joined the team at Space.com in August 2016 as a staff writer and producer. She's a self-proclaimed science geek from the South with a passion for all things out of this world! She has previously written for Scholastic, MedPage Today, Scienceline, and Oak Ridge National Lab. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her home town of Knoxville, she moved to New York City and earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. To keep up with Hanneke's latest work, follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.